By Michael Hernandez
WASHINGTON (AA) - The Pentagon updated Friday the number of troops diagnosed with traumatic brain injuries caused by Iranian ballistic missile strikes on an Iraqi air base, raising the total to 34.
In all, eight of the service members who were injured in the strikes on al-Asad Airbase were transferred from a base in Germany where they were receiving healthcare to the U.S. for additional treatment, Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman told reporters.
They arrived in the U.S. this morning. Nine other services members who were sent to Germany are still receiving treatment in that country, Hoffman said.
The Pentagon said the remaining 17 troops who suffered either concussions or other traumatic brain injuries have returned to duty in Iraq.
U.S. president Donald Trump initially said no U.S. troops were injured in the Jan. 8 airstrikes, which Iran took in retaliation for the U.S. assassination of its top general for regional operations, Qasem Soleimani. But the casualty toll was updated by the Pentagon days later when it said Jan. 17 that 11 service members had been diagnosed with traumatic brain injuries.
Addressing reporters in Davos, Switzerland earlier this week Trump said he "heard that they had headaches, and a couple of other things," calling the injuries "not very serious."
"I don't consider them very serious injuries, relative to other injuries that I've seen," he said. "I do not consider that to be bad injuries. No."
Soleimani was killed in a U.S. airstrike near Baghdad's international airport, putting Washington and Tehran on the brink of war, but each side has talked down the possibility of further escalation following Iran's retaliation.