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Pentagon belatedly reveals two dozen US personnel were injured in drone attacks

US Central Command told NBC News on Tuesday that two dozen US troops were wounded last week in a series of drone attacks on US bases in Iraq and Syria.

The Pentagon confirmed the attacks last week, but the number of wounded had not been previously released. 20 US service members suffered minor injuries on 18 October when at least two attack drones struck the al-Tanf military base in southern Syria, CENTCOM reported.

One of the drones was shot down. There was no damage to military facilities. All wounded were returned to action. On the same day, two separate attacks were launched against US and coalition forces at Al Asad base in western Iraq. The US shot down the drones, but debris from one of them damaged the hanger that housed the aircraft, four US troops were wounded. All of the wounded have now returned to duty.

The attacks came amid rising tensions in the region over the conflict in Israel. A US civilian contractor died as a result of a heart attack while following orders to “shelter in place”, but it was not during one of the drone attacks.

Brigadier General Pat Ryder, a Pentagon spokesman, said “a variety of drones and missiles” have attacked US and coalition forces at least 10 times in Iraq and three times in Syria over the past week. Ryder said Iran and its Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps backed the groups carrying out these attacks. He said:

What we are seeing is the prospect for more significant escalation against US forces and personnel across the region in the very near term coming from Iranian proxy forces, and ultimately from Iran. We always reserve the right to defend ourselves and we will never hesitate to take action when needed to protect our forces and our interests overseas.

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