WASHINGTON – More than 100 U.S. troops are being evaluated for traumatic brain injury from last month’s Iranian missile attack on a base in Iraq, a U.S. official said Monday.
The total number of troops wounded by the explosions at the Ain al-Asad base has risen dramatically since the Jan. 8 ballistic missile attacks. Initial reports, cited by President Donald Trump, indicated there were no casualties from the missile strike, which was launched in response to the U.S. drone strike that killed Iranian Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani.
A week later, the Pentagon acknowledged 11 troops were being treated for traumatic brain injury. By Jan. 31, the number had risen to 64. Monday, the military determined that the toll had surpassed 100, according to a U.S. official who was not authorized to speak publicly.
Reuters was first to report the development.
Ain al-Asad is located about 100 miles west of Baghdad and housed about 1,500 U.S. and coalition troops at the time of the attack.
The symptoms of traumatic brain injury are not always readily evident. Headaches, dizziness, memory loss and fatigue may manifest themselves days or weeks after the event. Explosions generate changes in air pressure that can damage the brain, and the closer troops are to a blast, the more vulnerable they are.
Trump was criticized by veterans’ organizations for downplaying the significance of traumatic brain injury.