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11 US troops were injured in Iran’s missile attacks, CENTCOM confirms

A U.S. Army Soldier from 1st Brigade, 25th Infantry Division, Task Force-Iraq, mans an observation post at Forward Operating Base Union III, Baghdad, Iraq, Dec. 31, 2019. (U.S. Army Photo by Maj. Charlie Dietz, Task Force-Iraq Public Affairs)
January 17, 2020

Despite initial claims by President Donald Trump that no U.S. personnel were injured or killed in Iran’s missile attacks on Jan. 8, a spokesman for U.S. Central Command revealed U.S. troops did not escape the attacks without injury.

As many as 11 U.S. troops were in fact flown out of Al Assad Air Base in Iraq and treated for concussion symptoms following the Iranian missile attacks, U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) spokesman Navy Capt. Bill Urban revealed to Fox News on Thursday.

“As a standard procedure, all personnel in the vicinity of a blast are screened for traumatic brain injury, and if deemed appropriate are transported to a higher level of care,” Urban said.

In the morning after the attack, Trump addressed the nation, providing the initial damage assessment from the Iranian missile attack. At the time, he said no U.S. personnel were hurt and he credited missile warning systems for helping get U.S. troops out of harm’s way.

“No Americans were harmed in last night’s attack by the Iranian regime,” Trump said on Jan. 8 in the morning after the attack. “We suffered no casualties, all of our soldiers are safe, and only minimal damage was sustained at our military base.”

Urban said that those U.S. troops were identified and treated for injuries in the days following the attack, suggesting their concussion symptoms weren’t immediately apparent in the casualty assessment provided to Trump.

“In the days following the attack, out of an abundance of caution, some service members were transported… to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany, others were sent to Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, for follow-on screening,” Urban said. “When deemed fit for duty, the service members are expected to return to Iraq following screening.”

Urban could not name any specific individuals treated, but said eight U.S. personnel were flown to Germany and three were treated at the base in nearby Kuwait.

The Washington Post, citing two U.S. military officials, reported that two soldiers “were thrown through the window of a meters-high tower” during the attack. Urban did not confirm this, however.

Iran’s missile attack came as a retaliation against a U.S. airstrike the week prior, which killed top Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani while he was with pro-Iranian militia groups in Iraq. U.S. military officials and members of the Trump administration had claimed Soleimani was planning an imminent attack on U.S. targets. The pro-Iranian militias had also been implicated in past attacks on U.S. positions in Iraq.

Iranian military figures had initially claimed up to 80 U.S. troops killed in the attack and as many as 200 more were injured.

The first assessment of damage to U.S. military equipment included one $40 million U.S. Pave Hawk helicopter, nine tents and some hand tools.

Following the attack, Trump suggested Iran was standing down and he appeared to accept the relatively ineffectual attack as an opportunity to ease tensions with the Iranian government.