WASHINGTON — There are good dogs — and then there are hero dogs who chase down the world’s top terrorist to his fatal demise.
President Donald Trump said that a dog, part of the US operation that resulted in the death of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi over the weekend, was injured while chasing Baghdadi down a dead-end tunnel.
Trump declassified a photo of the dog on Monday afternoon, tweeting, “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!”
The dog is believed to have been sent down the tunnel after it was feared that Baghdadi was wearing a suicide vest. Baghdadi was indeed wearing a suicide vest and detonated it in the tunnel, killing himself and three children.
The President said that the tunnel collapsed during the explosion. He also appeared to refer to more than one dog on the scene of the chase, saying Sunday morning that Baghdadi “reached the end of the tunnel, as our dogs chased him down.”
The dog, part of the Army Delta force, which executed the raid, was believed to have been injured from an electrocution and is recovering, a US defense official said.
The President called the dog “beautiful” and “talented,” but so far its name and handler remain a mystery. Additionally, a description of the breed has not been released.
“It’s a Delta operation, we can’t tell you the name of the dog,” one defense official told CNN.
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley also declined to name the K-9, saying that the dog is still “in theater” and returned to duty with its handler “so we are not going to release just yet photos or names of dogs or anything else.”
“We’re not releasing the name of the dog right now. The dog is still in theater. The dog, the K-9, the military working dog, performed a tremendous service as they all do in a variety of situations,” he said at a Pentagon news conference Monday.
The US military typically relies on German shepherds and Belgian Malinois.
This isn’t the first time American armed forces have relied on a dog for backup in operations targeting terrorists. In 2011, a dog named Cairo took part in the raid that led to Osama bin Laden’s death. Cairo secured the area around the bin Laden compound while Navy SEALs went in.