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U.S. soldiers clear rubble at al-Asad Base in the western Iraqi province of Anbar. Photo: Ayman Henna/ AFP via Getty Images

109 American troops suffered traumatic brain injuries as a result of Iran's Jan. 8 missile attack on U.S. bases in Iraq, the Defense Department said in a statement Monday.

Why it matters: The development, first reported by Reuters, is a significant jump from the 50 cases the Pentagon disclosed in late January — and more than triple the number disclosed in the immediate aftermath of the strike.

  • Traumatic brain injuries are not always detected immediately, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  • Pentagon spokesperson Thomas Campbell indicated in January that the numbers could increase.
  • Of the 109 troops diagnosed, 76 service members have returned to duty.

Yes, but: President Trump said that the injuries suffered by soldiers in the attack, which was a response to a U.S. strike that killed Iranian Gen. Qasem Soleimani, weren't very serious — and brushed them off as "headaches."

  • That comment prompted the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the nation's largest veterans group, to ask Trump to apologize for minimizing the injuries.

What they're saying:

"The Defense Department is steadfast in its efforts to deliver programs and services intended to lead to the best possible outcomes for our service members. 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

Go deeper

Trump voices support for Saturday's pro-Capitol riots rally

Photo: Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Former President Trump on Thursday expressed solidarity with people facing prosecution in connection to the Capitol insurrection.

Why it matters: The statement was issued ahead of Saturday's rally to protest the treatment of Capitol rioters. Over 600 known federal defendants face charges related to the Jan. 6 insurrection.

Clinton-linked lawyer indicted in investigation of FBI's Russia probe

Photo: Eric Baradat/AFP via Getty Images

A grand jury has returned an indictment against Michael Sussmann, a lawyer whose firm represented the 2016 Clinton campaign, for lying to the FBI about not representing "any client" when he presented them with allegations about a secret Trump Organization back-channel to a Russian bank.

Why it matters: It's the second criminal charge stemming from special counsel John Durham's review of possible misconduct by the intelligence community and prosecutors who investigated the 2016 Trump campaign's ties to Russia.

Federal judge blocks Biden administration's use of Title 42 policy

Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A federal judge on Thursday blocked the Biden administration from enforcing a public health order that fast-tracked deportations of migrant families at the southern border.

Why it matters: President Biden has faced significant backlash for retaining the Trump-era policy, which was implemented as a COVID containment measure. The expulsions deny adult migrants and families the chance for asylum.