U.S. personnel stationed in Iraq are facing traumatic brain injury evaluations following a recent attack by Iranian-backed militias on the Al-Asad airbase in western Iraq.
According to the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM), the attack occurred on January 20th, when multiple ballistic missiles and rockets were launched at around 6:30 p.m. Baghdad time.
CENTCOM confirms traumatic brain injury evaluations ongoing
While the base’s air defense systems managed to intercept most of the missiles, some did impact the base, leading to ongoing damage assessments.
CENTCOM has confirmed that several U.S. personnel are currently undergoing evaluations for traumatic brain injuries as a result of the attack.
Additionally, at least one Iraqi service member was reported to have been wounded during the assault.
Islamic Resistance militia group claims responsibility
The Islamic Resistance in Iraq, an Iran-backed militia group, has claimed responsibility for the missile attack on the Al-Asad airbase.
This incident marks a troubling escalation in a series of more than 140 similar attacks that have occurred since mid-October.
Iranian-backed militia groups have been consistently targeting U.S. forces in Iraq and Syria, raising concerns about regional stability.
Iran-backed militias target US forces with ballistic missiles in Iraq
Some experts view these attacks as acts of solidarity with Palestinians amidst the Israel-Hamas conflict, echoing similar actions by Houthi militants in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden against commercial shipping.
Unlike previous attacks primarily involving Iranian-made drones and rockets, this assault featured more powerful ballistic missiles, indicating an escalation in tactics.
Iran’s support for the Houthi rebels has led to retaliatory strikes by the U.S., with the Pentagon describing these actions as “defensive” measures.
Ongoing complexities in the Middle East
The Houthis’ attacks on Red Sea shipping were intended to support a ceasefire in Gaza, further contributing to the volatile situation.
The heightened tensions between Iranian-backed militias and the U.S. in Iraq follow a U.S. military drone strike in Baghdad on January 4th, targeting a senior leader of one such militia.
This incident reflects the ongoing complexities of the region, where approximately 2,500 U.S. troops remain stationed in Iraq as part of the mission to counter the Islamic State terror group.
Challenges in Middle East highlight need for evaluations
An additional 900 U.S. troops are deployed in Syria to prevent a resurgence of the Islamic State, as reported by the Pentagon.
The recent attack on the Al-Asad airbase and its aftermath highlight the continuing challenges faced by U.S. personnel in the Middle East as Iranian-backed militia groups escalate their actions.
The situation underscores the need for ongoing assessments and evaluations, particularly regarding traumatic brain injuries suffered by U.S. personnel during these attacks.