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Damage at Ain al-Asad military airbase housing U.S. and other foreign troops in the western Iraqi province of Anbar in January 2020. Photo: Ayman Henna/AFP via Getty Images

The Army has approved 39 more Purple Hearts for U.S. soldiers wounded in an Iranian military ballistic missile attack on an Iraq base in January 2020, the Army Times first reported Wednesday.

Why it matters: Most of these soldiers sustained brain injuries, per the Army Times. Then-President Trump dismissed their injuries at the time as "headaches" and "not very serious," sparking backlash from some veterans groups.

The big picture: The missiles were in retaliation for the killing of Iranian Gen. Qasem Soleimani in a U.S. airstrike in Iraq in early January 2020.

  • No American soldier was killed in the Iranian attack, but many sustained traumatic brain injuries and 23 of these were later awarded purple hearts, CBS News notes.
  • The Army's Human Resources command has now approved a further 39 Purple Heart submissions following a review.

What they're saying: "They continue to review an additional 11 nominations, which will be decided on the individual merits," said Army spokesman Lt. Col. Gabriel Ramirez in an emailed statement.

Go deeper

Jan 13, 2022 - Health

Army disciplines nearly 3,000 soldiers for refusing COVID vaccine

Photo: Jon Cherry/Getty Images

The U.S. Army announced Wednesday it issued 2,994 written reprimands to soldiers for failing to comply with its COVID-19 vaccine mandate and relieved six active-duty commanders from leadership positions for refusing to get vaccinated.

The big picture: Two battalion commanders were among those removed, per an Army statement. It's received 2,128 religious exemption requests but has yet to grant any. It approved five medical exemptions. 96% of active-duty soldiers are fully vaccinated against the virus.

Go deeper: More than 200 Marines removed for defying COVID vaccine mandate

Thousands without power as "hazardous" winter storm lashes East Coast

Winter view from Charlotte as winter storm Izzy creates dangerous conditions in Charlotte, N.C. on Jan. 16. Photo: Peter Zay/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

A major winter storm was lashing much of the East Coast on Sunday, causing widespread power outages and disrupting travel over the holiday weekend.

The big picture: Heavy snow and ice accumulations are "likely to produce hazardous travel," downed trees and more power outages from the Mid-South to the Northeast, per the National Weather Service. Some parts of the U.S. can expect to see up to a foot of snow through Monday.

Updated 1 hour ago - Science

Volcanic eruption in Tonga caused "significant" damage

This satellite image of the eruption on Jan. 15 taken by Himawari-8, a Japanese weather satellite operated by Japan Meteorological Agency and released by National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT). Photo: NICT via AP

Significant damage has been reported in Tonga following an undersea volcanic eruption on Saturday, which covered the Pacific nation in ash and cut off communication lines.

Driving the news: The eruption triggered tsunami warnings across Tonga's islands and in other regions, including the West Coast of the U.S. and New Zealand.