Iran teases release of new details on strike against US soldiers in Iraq

Iran teases release of new details on strike against US soldiers in Iraq
A Revolutionary Guards commander said Iran was now capable of disabling US drones, adding that further details of the Ain al-Asad strike would soon be disclosed.
2 min read
07 February, 2020
IRGC Aerospace Commander Amirali Hajizadeh exhibits parts of the downed US drone in June [Getty]
Amirali Hajizadeh, head of the aerospace division of Iran's Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), revealed he will soon disclose further details on the Iranian attack on US troops housed at Iraq's Ain Al-Asad air base in January.

The military commander joked there was a possibility they would announce that some US troops may have "died from mild brain injuries," the Tehran Times reported.

Hajizadeh was referring to the growing number of soldiers confirmed to have sustained traumatic brain injuries (TBI) from the strike. The Pentagon has been gradually increasing the toll which now stands at 64.

President Donald Trump had initially said no Americans were hurt by the missiles, and Democrats later accused him of trying to downplay the injuries.

After the Pentagon reported on 17 January that 11 service members had been evacuated from Iraq with concussion-like symptoms, Trump said, "I heard they had headaches and a couple of other things... and I can report it is not very serious". 

Of those diagnosed with TBI, 39 troops have returned to duty, the Pentagon said, while the rest have either been sent back to the US, are waiting to be sent back or are currently being evaluated.

At the time of the strikes, which were launched by Iran in retaliation for the US assassination of IRGC commander Qassem Soleimani, most of the 1,500 American soldiers at the Ain al-Asad base were in bunkers, after they were given advance warning from superiors.

Iran 'has accessed US drone codes'

Hajizadeh also claimed that Iran has the capacity to down US surveillance drones, citing the shooting of an RQ-4 unmanned aircraft in June 2019 near the Kouh-e Mobarak region in central Iran, after it violated Iranian airspace.

"We have accessed the RQ-4 drone's secret codes… We can make the drone inefficient from several thousands of kilometers away," Hajizadeh said.

The RQ-4 model can fly at high altitudes for more than 30 hours at a time, gathering virtually real-time, high-resolution imagery of large areas of land in all weather conditions.

He added that the discovery came after new parts of the downed drone were recently discovered in the depths of Iran's southern waters.

The complete wreckage of the drone was put on display on Thursday and broadcast on national television.

A small part of the wreckage had previously been displayed immediately after the downing.

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