News ID: 264701
Published: 0343 GMT January 22, 2020

More American troops treated for injuries from Iran strikes: US

More American troops treated for injuries from Iran strikes: US
QASSIM ABDUL-ZAHRA/AP
US soldiers stand at a site of Iranian missile strike at Ain al-Asad air base in Iraq’s Anbar Province on January 13, 2020.

The US Central Command announced Tuesday that additional American forces serving at a base in Iraq that was hit by Iranian missiles earlier this month have been transported to a US medical facility in Germany for treatment.

The injured service members are separate from the 11 troopers already announced by CENTCOM to have received treatment in the January 8 strike. That strike was in retaliation for the January 3 American drone attack that assassinated Iranian Lt. Gen. Qassem Soleimani at Baghdad airport, CNN reported.

CENTCOM did not immediately give an exact number on how many additional service members had been injured in the strike. A Defense official told CNN after the initial 11 service members were evacuated that more injured troops could be identified.

In a statement announcing the development, Capt. Bill Urban, spokesman for CENTOM, said the additional service members were moved "out of an abundance of caution" and that "it is possible additional injuries may be identified in the future."

"As medical treatment and evaluations in theater continue, additional service members have been identified as having potential injuries," Urban said. "These service members – out of an abundance of caution – have been transported to Landstuhl, Germany for further evaluations and necessary treatment on an outpatient basis. Given the nature of injuries already noted, it is possible additional injuries may be identified in the future."

US President Donald Trump on Wednesday minimized the severity of head injuries sustained by US troops as he was pressed on why he had claimed no troops had been injured in the attacks, according to AP.

“I heard they had headaches and a couple of other things ... and I can report it is not very serious,” Trump said at a press conference in Davos, Switzerland, arguing that potential traumatic brain injuries are less severe than, say, missing limbs.

 

 

“No, I don’t consider them very serious injuries relative to other injuries that I’ve seen,” the Republican president said.

Trump has repeatedly claimed that no Americans were harmed in the Iranian missile strikes on Jan. 8.

The question of American casualties was especially significant at the time because Trump cited the fact that no Americans were killed or injured as driving his decision not to retaliate further and risk a broader war with Iran.

But in the days following the attack, medical screening determined that some of the US troops who took cover during the attack were suffering from concussion-like symptoms.

Last week, CENTOM said 11 individuals had been injured in the strike, eight of whom had been transported to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany and three to Camp Arifjan in Kuwait for "follow-on screening."

In announcing those injuries, CENTCOM acknowledged that service members who had been in the area of the blast were being monitored for potential injuries and that the injuries became apparent in the days following the attack. The Pentagon had initially said no service members had been injured or killed in the Iranian strikes.

The disclosure of injured US service members – and the most recent news of additional injuries – indicates that the impact of the attack was more serious than initial assessments indicated.

US officials have offered differing accounts of what they see as the intentions behind Iran's attack.

Some administration officials at first said they believed that Iran had deliberately missed areas populated by Americans. Multiple administration officials told CNN the night of the attack that Iran could have directed its missiles to areas populated by Americans, but intentionally did not.

Then, Army Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said he believed that the attacks "were intended to cause structural damage, destroy vehicles and equipment and aircraft, and to kill personnel."

And Vice President Mike Pence said that the administration believed the strikes "were intended to kill Americans."

Iraq did receive advance warning that the strike was coming and was able to take "necessary precautions," according to a statement from Iraq's Prime Minister Adil Abdul Mahdi. A US defense official said that Iraq, in turn, gave warning to the United States, but the Pentagon has disputed that they received any warning from the Iraqis.

In remarks to the nation following the attack, President Donald Trump signaled a de-escalation of tensions but appeared to keep all options open by describing American military readiness.

"Our missiles are big, powerful, accurate, lethal and fast," he said, adding that "the fact that we have this great military and equipment, however, does not mean we have to use it."

"We do not want to use it. American strength, both military and economic, is the best deterrent," he said.

 

   
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