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More than 100 U.S. service members have been diagnosed with traumatic brain injuries as a result of the January 8th missile strikes by Iran on an Iraq base housing U.S. troops.
The Pentagon confirmed in a statement that so far 109 U.S.service members had been diagnosed with mild traumatic brain injuries.
This disclosure comes after a Reuters' exclusive on Monday (February 10) revealed that the number of cases was actually more than double the number first reported.
The Iran missile strikes came in retaliation of the U.S. killing a top Iranian military general, Qassem Soleimani.
The news of the injuries diverged from what U.S. President Donald Trump and other officials said immediately after the strikes, which was that no U.S. service members were killed OR injured.
At a news conference last month at the Pentagon, Army General Mark Milley, chairman of the military's Joint Chiefs of Staff, said that 34 American service members had been diagnosed with injuries and that the severity of the injuries were mild.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) ARMY GENERAL MARK MILLEY, THE U.S. CHAIRMAN OF THE JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF, SAYING:
"The diagnosis we have so far for all of the folks that have been diagnosed to date is 'mild' traumatic brain injury."
Trump downplayed the reports of injuries last month, drawing criticism from lawmakers and veteran groups.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP, SAYING:
"No, I heard that they had headaches and a couple of other things, but I would say, and I can report, it is not very serious. No very serious-- "
Iraqi officers stationed at the base told Reuters loss of life was prevented because staff began moving personnel and weaponry into fortified bunkers hours before the attack.
Symptoms among those injured include headaches, dizziness, sensitivity to light and nausea.
The Pentagon also said on Monday that 76 of those with injuries had returned to duty.
Since 2000, about 408,000 service members have been diagnosed with traumatic brain injury according to Pentagon data.