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109 U.S. service members diagnosed with brain injuries after Iran strike

Feb. 10 (UPI) -- More than 100 U.S. service members have been diagnosed with mild traumatic brain injuries after an Iranian missile attack on a military base in Iraq in January, the Pentagon said Monday.

The Department of Defense released a statement on Monday confirming that 109 service members involved in a Jan. 8 missile attack on the al Asad military base in Iraq had been diagnosed with TBI.

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Of those injured, 76 have been returned to duty.

"We are grateful to the efforts of our medical professionals who have worked diligently to ensure the appropriate level of care for our service members, which has enabled nearly 70 percent of those diagnosed to return to duty. We must continue to address physical and mental health together," Pentagon press secretary Alyssa Farah said.

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The total increased by 45 from an update in January.

"Our efforts must address the total picture -- before, during and after any blast exposure or injury," Farah said. "This is a snapshot in time and numbers can change. We will continue to provide updates as they become available."

Iran launched 16 missiles at two Iraqi airbases in early January in retaliation to a U.S. airstrike that killed Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the commander of Iran's elite Islamic Revolutionary Guards Crops.

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At the time of the attack, President Donald Trump said in televised remarks that no U.S. soldier was hurt and Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley noted casualties were averted as they received early warning of the strikes.

Secretary of State Mark Esper said their initial reporting at the time was accurate and Milley said that TBI can take time to manifest so they continued to screen for it following the incident.

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