By Joaquin Flores
16 US military men with fatal injuries sustained during Iran’s retaliatory missile strikes on Ain Al-Assad base earlier this month have been taken to a hospital in camp Arifjan in Ahmed al-Jaber airbase in Kuwait, a leading Kuwaiti newspaper disclosed on Sunday.
The Arabic-language Al-Qabas paper quoted informed sources as saying on Sunday that the 16 US militaries, included some whose bodies had been severely burnt and some others who had sustained shrapnel wounds, have been transferred to a US military hospital in Kuwait under strict security measures.
It added that the wounded military men have gone under surgical operations and are still kept at the ICU section of the hospital.
According to the paper, several other US forces who had sustained mild injuries in Iran’s missile strike are being treated in Iraq.
The US president and the Pentagon have both claimed that there has been no casualty in Iran’s missile raid on Ain Al-Assad airbase.
Last Thursday, the US Central Command revealed that 11 personnel stationed at an Iraqi airbase which incurred a retaliatory missile attack by Iran over the Pentagon’s assassination of Tehran’s top commander, Qassem Soleimani, had to be sent out of the country after displaying concussion symptoms.
“While no US service members were killed” in the Iranian missile attack on Ein Al-Assad military base, “several were treated for concussion symptoms from the blast and are still being assessed”, Navy Captain Bill Urban stated in a statement.
Upon initial examination, eight troops were flown out of the war-ravaged country to a medical facility in Germany for further checks, while three others were taken to Camp Arifjan, a US Army installation in Kuwait.
The temporary removal of the troops was taken “out of an abundance of caution”, Urban said, refusing to divulge any more details about the condition of the servicemen or the extent of their injuries.
“The health and welfare of our personnel is a top priority and we will not discuss any individual’s medical status,” he added.
The air base, which houses US troops, is one of the largest and oldest military bases and located in Al-Anbar province in Western Iraq. It found itself under fire from volleys of ballistic missiles launched from Iran days after a US drone strike near Baghdad assassinated Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Qods Force Commander Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani who played a major role in beating the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, ISIS or Daesh) terror group in both Syria and Iraq.
His assassination has inflamed tensions between Washington and Tehran, and drew a harsh rebuke from Baghdad, prompting the Iraqi Parliament to pass a resolution ordering American forces to leave the country.
While experts and pundits have been surprised by improvements in Iranian ballistic prowess after satellite images displayed accuracy of Iranian missile strikes on US airbase, President Donald Trump has claimed that Tehran’s military operation left no casualties.
Briefing media on operational objective of missile attacks on US bases, IRGC Aerospace Commander Brigadier General Ali Hajizadeh stated that Iran was not after killing anyone although “tens of US troops have likely been killed and wounded and were transferred to Israel and Jordan on 9 sorties of C-130 flights”.
He noted that had Iran intended to kill the American forces, it could have planned high casualty operations to kill 500 US military men in the first step and 4,000 to 5,000 others in the second and third phases within 48 hours.
Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei has called the military operation “only a slap across the face” of the United States, stating that “military moves like this are not enough. The Americans’ corruption-stirring presence should come to an end”.
Tehran reiterates that its strategic objective is expelling the US troops from the region, naming it the true vengeance for the terror attack on its most popular General, Martyr Soleimani.