For at least the fourth time in just over one month since Iran launched a rocket attack on United States troops stationed over the border in Iraq, the Pentagon will issue a new report increasing the casualty count from the incident. While the U.S. initially claimed zero troops were injured by the multiple missile strikes, the count is now expected to break triple digits.
In the coming days, the Pentagon will report that likely more than 100 U.S. soldiers suffered traumatic brain injuries from the attack, according to a source cited by Reuters news agency, in a report published Monday morning.
Iran launched the missile strikes at two Iraqi military bases that house U.S. troops in retaliation for the earlier killing of top Iranian military leader Qassem Soleimani. The Iranian general, who was also a highly popular political figure in Iran, was killed in a U.S. drone strike which President Donald Trump later said was ordered by him, personally.
On the night of the Iranian rocket retaliatory attacks, Trump took to his Twitter account to declare, "All is well!" and "So far so good!" But eight days later, the military revealed that 11 soldiers had suffered traumatic brain injuries as a result of the attacks.
If the latest reported Pentagon figures turn out accurate, the number of traumatic brain injuries will be nearly 10 times as high as the figures released the week after the attack.
The Iran rocket attacks capped off a violent exchange between Iran and the U.S. in the region that began on December 27 when a missile attack on an Iraqi military base killed an American contractor and wounded six Iraqis. The U.S. retaliated by bombing five bases held by an Iranian-linked militia group in Iraq that the U.S. blamed for the initial missile attack.
But according to a New York Times report last week, the Iran-backed Khataib Hezbollah militia group blamed by the Trump administration for the initial attack may not have been responsible after all.
Instead, Iraqi intelligence officials now believe that the attack may have been carried out by Islamic State terrorists, according to the Times report. The Islamic State is a Sunni Muslim extremist group, opposed to the Shi'ite Muslim groups backed by Iran, such as Khataib Hezbollah.
Despite the repeatedly escalating counts of traumatic brain injury victims from Iran's January 8 ballistic missile attacks, the Pentagon says that it is not attempting to conceal the number of injuries, according to Reuters.
Trump has dismissed the soldiers diagnosed with traumatic brain injury as suffering from "headaches and a couple of other things," as quoted by Reuters.
Symptoms of traumatic brain injury can sometimes take days or weeks to become apparent, according to the U.S National Library of Medicine. Symptoms can range from dizziness and blurred vision in mild cases to convulsions, seizures, cognitive impairments, Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases, and suicidal thoughts in more severe TBI incidents.