‘Very good boy’: Trump reveals hero dog
The first picture of the US military dog injured during the operation to kill ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has been revealed - but its name remains classified.
"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!" US President Donald Trump tweeted on Monday.
The White House Twitter account added, "A VERY GOOD BOY!"
A senior official told The New York Times the dog has an invitation to the White House "whenever he can get over here" to meet the President.
It came after Pentagon officials said the dog was "fully recovering" after playing a role in Saturday night's daring operation to kill the terrorist leader, who was chased down a dead-end tunnel by military dogs before detonating a suicide vest.
U.S. official confirms that the working dog wounded in the Baghdadi raid is ok.— Dan Lamothe (@DanLamothe) October 28, 2019
I said: "What's the dog's name?"
Source said: "It's classified."
I said: "Really?"
Source said: "Yes."
I'm still not positive if the source is kidding or not.
DOG UPDATE: The dog who aided the ISIS raid has an invitation to the White House “whenever he can get over here,” per senior official. The president wants to meet him.— Katie Rogers (@katierogers) October 28, 2019
Mr Trump announced the death of al-Baghdadi on Sunday, describing the raid on his compound in northern Syria by US Special Operation Forces in graphic detail - al-Baghdadi died "like a dog", a "coward" and a "gutless animal", "whimpering and crying and screaming all the way", he said.
"He reached the end of the tunnel, as our dogs chased him," Mr Trump told reporters during a 45-minute press conference. "He ignited his vest, killing himself and the three children. Our 'K-9', as they call it. I call it a dog. A beautiful dog - a talented dog - was injured and brought back."
Neither the dogs nor any American soldiers died during the raid. One soldier assigned to Delta Force told the Washington Examiner, "The injury to the dog is an injury to one of us. These dogs are a special breed of courageous."
Army General Mark A. Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters during a briefing on Monday that the dog "performed a tremendous service" and was "slightly wounded" but was now "fully recovering", Fox News reported.
Milley had said they were not releasing any specific information about the dog as the canine "is still in theatre". The dog has "returned to duty" and is back "with its handler," he said. "We're protecting the dog's identity," Milley said.
The US military commonly uses the Belgian Malinois to guide and protect troops, search out enemy forces and look for explosives. The breed is prized by the military 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 Mr 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."
- with wires