U.S President Donald Trump has tweeted a photo of a dog that took part in the raid targeting the Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. The Belgian Malinois was injured when Baghdadi detonated a suicide vest.
The US president had hailed the dog as a “good boy”, “beautiful” and “talented”, who had chased down Baghdadi moments before he detonated his vest. The dog sustained minor injuries and was being treated by vets.
Baghdadi, one of the world’s most wanted men, died during a US operation in the Syrian province of Idlib.
“We have declassified a picture of the wonderful dog (name not declassified) that did such a GREAT JOB,” Trump wrote on Monday.
At a press conference on Monday, Gen Mark Milley, the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, told reporters: “We’re not releasing the name of the dog right now … the dog is still in theater.”
The US military commonly uses Belgian Malinois dogs to guide and protect troops, search out enemy forces and look for explosives. The breed is prized for its intelligence and ability to be aggressive on command, said Ron Aiello, president of the United States War Dogs Association.
“That’s the kind of dog you want to lead a patrol like this,” said Aiello,a former Marine dog handler whose organisation helps active duty and retired military dogs. “They are the first line of defence. They go out front.”
A Belgian Malinois service dog named Cairo accompanied US Navy Seals in the 2011 raid that killed Osama bin Laden, the leader of al-Qaida, in Pakistan. President Barack Obama met the dog at a ceremony to honour the commandos.