WASHINGTON (AP) – The Pentagon has raised to 50 the number of U.S. service members who suffered traumatic brain injuries in Iran’s missile strike earlier this month on an Iraqi air base, the third time the number of injuries has been increased.
The new casualty total belies President Donald Trump’s initial claim that no Americans were harmed. Days after the attack, the military said 11 service members were injured. Last week, the Pentagon said that 34 U.S. service members were hurt.
Lt. Col. Thomas Campbell, a Pentagon spokesman, said Tuesday that 16 additional service members were diagnosed with traumatic brain injury. Of the 50, Campbell said, 31 service members had returned to duty.
Trump had initially said he was told that no troops had been injured in the Jan. 8 missile strike on Iraq’s Ain al-Asad air base. Iran carried out the attack as retaliation for a U.S. drone strike in Baghdad that killed Iran’s most powerful general, Qassem Soleimani, on Jan. 3.