United States President Donald Trump on Tuesday released a picture of a dog involved in the military raid that killed Islamic State chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi on Saturday. While announcing the terrorist leader’s death, Trump had mentioned that a dog “was injured and brought back”.
“We have declassified a picture of the wonderful dog (name not declassified) that did such a GREAT JOB in capturing and killing the Leader of ISIS, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi!” Trump tweeted. The name and other details of the animal were not disclosed to protect the identity of the classified military unit to which the dog belonged, according to The Washington Post.
“We’re not releasing the name of the dog right now,” said Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark A Milley. “The dog is still in [the] theater, returned to duty, with its handler.” Earlier on Monday, Milley said the dog had “performed a tremendous service” in the Saturday night raid, according to The Telegraph.
However, unidentified officials with the United States Defence Department told Newsweek that the dog, a female Belgian Malinois, is named Conan.
Baghdadi, who had led the jihadist group since 2010, killed himself on Saturday by detonating a suicide vest after fleeing into a dead-end tunnel as US forces closed in on him in a compound in Northwest Syria. Trump had also referred to the involvement of more than one dog during the announcement, saying “our dogs chased him [Baghdadi] down”. The president had also described the injured canine as “beautiful and talented”.
The American military heavily relies on dogs as backup in operations involving terrorists, according to CNN. In 2011, a dog called Cairo was a part of the raids that killed al-Qaeda chief Osama Bin Laden in Pakistan in May 2011. Cairo reportedly secured the area around Bin Laden’s compound as Navy SEAL forces carried out the operation.
Dogs are usually ranked as noncommissioned officers, a higher rank than the animal’s handler. They are often involved in high-level special operations missions or assigned to look for improvised explosive devices, according to Newsweek.
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