Eleven U.S. service members were injured during an Iranian missile strike last week against an Iraqi air base housing American troops, military officials confirmed late Thursday, despite the Trump administration’s previous assertion that no Americans were harmed in the assault by Tehran.
While no troops were killed in the strike on Iraq’s Al-Asad air base, “several were treated for concussion symptoms from the blast and are still being assessed,” U.S. Central Command spokesman Capt. Bill Urban said in a statement.
The statement breaks with with President Donald Trump’s claim that no U.S. troops were hurt after Iran launched more than a dozen ballistic missiles targeting the Al-Asad installation and another air base near Irbil in northern Iraq. Both bases were “hosting U.S. military and coalition personnel,” according to the Pentagon.
White House spokespeople did not immediately return a request for comment.
“I am pleased to inform you, the American people should be extremely grateful and happy. No Americans were harmed in last night's attack by the Iranian regime,” Trump said in a televised address to the nation, delivered from the White House in the immediate aftermath of the attack. “We suffered no casualties. All of our soldiers are safe, and only minimal damage was sustained at our military bases.”
But Urban said Thursday that following the attack, “out of an abundance of caution,” eight troops were transported from the Al-Asad air base to a medical center in Germany, and another three were transported to Kuwait “for follow-on screening.” He did not specify a timeline for their diagnosis and treatment beyond noting that the service members were transported to Germany and Kuwait "in the days following the attack."
“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 explained.
“When deemed fit for duty, the service members are expected to return to Iraq following screening,” he added. “The health and welfare of our personnel is a top priority and we will not discuss any individual's medical status.”