Since drone attacks on U.S. troops in Iraq and Syria began escalating in mid-October, the Pentagon has reported a total of 56 injuries, a spokeswoman announced Thursday.
Three of those injuries, two of them traumatic brain injuries, came from a strike on Wednesday, Sabrina Singh told reporters.
“Between Oct. 17 and Nov. 9, U.S. and coalition forces have been attacked at least 46 times to date, 24 separate times in Iraq and 22 separate times in Syria, by a mix of one-way attack drones and rockets,” she said.
The Pentagon on Monday reported 46 injuries total, 25 of those TBIs.
While most of the overall injuries occurred during attacks Oct. 17 and 18 in Iraq and Syria, the numbers have ticked up as TBI symptoms have surfaced and been reported.
Singh could not say how many of the 56 are diagnosed TBI, but said all of the troops have returned to duty.
The U.S. has launched three retaliatory attacks on Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-affiliated facilities in response to the strikes, the latest on Wednesday night.
“It was strategic, and it hit a weapons ammunition depot that we believe was very successful, and so we are minimizing what these groups are able to use the ― capabilities that they are able to use,” Singh said of the strike. “And we feel that these are proportionate responses.”
The Pentagon has warned that Iran-backed militias will continue the escalation of attacks on troops housing U.S. bases in the Middle East, though officials have not specifically linked the attacks to U.S. support for Israel in its war on Hamas.
In response to that conflict, and the increased attacks, the U.S. has increased its force presence in the Middle East, including two carrier strike groups, an amphibious ready group with embarked Marine expeditionary unit, Air Force fighter squadrons, multiple Army air defense battalions and 300 support troops send to undisclosed locations.
Meghann Myers is the Pentagon bureau chief at Military Times. She covers operations, policy, personnel, leadership and other issues affecting service members.