The Pentagon has said 34 US troops suffered traumatic brain injury in Iran’s missile strike on an Iraqi air base earlier this month.
Though half have now returned to work, US President Donald Trump initially claimed that no Americans were harmed.
He later characterised the injuries as “not very serious”.
Eight of the injured arrived in the US on Friday from Germany, where they and nine others had been flown days after the missile strike on Iraq’s Ain al-Asad base on 8 January.
Iran fired missiles at bases housing US troops in Iraq in retaliation for the US killing of Maj Gen Qassem Soleimani, who was targeted in an airstrike near Baghdad airport the week prior.
The nine US service members still in Germany are receiving treatment and evaluation at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center – the largest US military hospital outside the continental US.
Chief Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman said the eight in the US will be treated at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Maryland or at their home bases.
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The exact nature of their injuries, as well as their service and unit affiliations, has not been disclosed.
The military said symptoms of concussion or traumatic brain injury were not immediately reported after the strike.
It also added that some cases of injuries became known days later.
Many were in bunkers before nearly a dozen Iranian ballistic missiles exploded.
After the Pentagon reported on 17 January that 11 service members had been evacuated from Iraq with concussion-like symptoms, Mr Trump said: “I heard they had headaches and a couple of other things… and I can report it is not very serious.”
He said he believed the injuries were not as severe as those suffered by troops who were hit by roadside bombs in Iraq.
Traumatic brain injury, or TBI, has become a growing concern for the military in recent years.
The Defence Department has said more than 375,000 incidents of TBI occurred in the military between 2000 and 2018.
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Some members of Congress pressed the Pentagon for more details about the TBI cases resulting from the Iranian attack.
More than 5,000 US troops and 400 British soldiers remain in Iraq, along with other foreign forces, in a coalition that has trained and backed Iraqi forces against the threat of IS militants.
SOURCE : https://news.sky.com/story/34-us-troops-suffered-traumatic-brain-injury-after-iran-strike-pentagon-says-11917118