The US-led military coalition in Iraq has reported Friday that 11 of its soldiers were wounded with a concussion following the Iranian attack on the Iraqi base of Al Asad last week, in retaliation for the killing in Baghdad of General Qasem Soleimani by a US drone on January 3. At first, the Pentagon reported that there had been no deaths or injuries.
“While no member of the US service died in the January 8 Iranian attack on Al Asad air base, several were treated for concussion symptoms caused by the blast and are still being evaluated,” said Captain Bill. Urban, spokesman for the United States Central Command.
Urban explained that treating these soldiers is a “standard procedure” that is carried out when personnel are near an explosion, to find out if “traumatic brain injuries” have occurred. Thus, “as a precaution”, as Urban has detailed, eight people have been transferred to the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in southern Germany, while three others have been evacuated to the Arifja camp, in the capital of Kuwait, to do a “follow-up exam.” “When they are deemed fit for service, they are expected to return to Iraq,” he added.
Several officials from the United States Department of Defense have explained to CNN television that after an initial “evaluation of the commander, the symptoms arose days after the fact”, hence, he said, the contradiction between the first statements of the secretary of Defense, Mark Esper, in which he assured that there was only material damage after the attack.
When launching its attack, the Islamic Republic warned that it was only the beginning of its revenge for the death of the Iranian general Soleimani on January 3 in a drone strike carried out in Baghdad. At the time, President Donald Trump chose not to respond to the Iranian offensive with military force and, in a televised speech to the nation, said he would impose more sanctions against Iran. Tehran and Washington, which have not had diplomatic relations since 1979, have experienced numerous crises since Trump ordered in 2018 the US exit from the nuclear agreement promoted by his predecessor Barack Obama signed in 2015. The current tension escalation is especially serious and increased with the accidental shooting down by the Islamic Republic of a Ukrainian plane, which killed its 176 occupants, most of them Iranian and Canadian.