Trump shares picture of US military dog injured during raid on Baghdadi after Pentagon says no
Washington: US President Donald Trump has shared a picture of the "wonderful" service dog that was injured during the top secret raid to capture or kill Islamic State founder Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in Syria, after top Pentagon officials declined to provide any details of the canine to "protect its identity".
"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 on Monday.
Trump tweeted the photo of a Belgian Malinois but did not reveal the name and other details of the service dog.
The anonymous canine became famous overnight after it cornered the dreaded terrorist leader in a dead-end tunnel during the raid on Saturday.
Earlier, the Pentagon said it will was not making public the name of the US service dog injured in the American raid in northwest Syria that ended in the death of dreaded ISIS leader to "protect its identity".
Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley said on Monday, "The K-9, the military working dog, performed a tremendous service, as they all do in a variety of situations. It is slightly wounded and fully recovering."
"But the dog is still in theatre, returned to duty with its handler. So we're not going to release photos or names of dogs or anything else just yet. It's a classified unit," the top American general said at a joint news conference with Secretary of Defense Mark Esper.
"Protecting his identity," Esper chipped in. "We're protecting the dog's identity," Milley echoed.
A day earlier, President Trump had said when the American troops landed in eight helicopters along with specially trained canines, they also had with them a robot, the first of its kind, to go after the ISIS leader inside the tunnel.
Being chased by dogs towards the dead end of a tunnel, Baghdadi killed himself by blowing up his powerful suicide vest, as such the robot was not used, the president told reporters at the White House, giving details of the operation in northwest Syria.
"Nobody was even hurt. Our 'K-9' as they call, I call it a dog, a beautiful dog. A talented dog was injured and brought back," Trump said in response to a question on Sunday.
Trump had also said that Baghdadi died "like a dog and like a coward".
K9s of Valor, a nonprofit organisation dedicated to keeping police K9 officers safe by donating lifesaving equipment, said, "Our thoughts and prayers are with the US Special Forces dog injured Saturday during the raid on an ISIS terrorist's compound."
The dog that accompanied US commandoes who killed al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden at his hideout in Pakistan's Abbottabad was named as Cairo. It was a Belgian Malinois.
The Washington Examiner reported that it understands the dog that took part in the raid on Baghdadi is also a Belgian Malinois, a special breed commonly used by the military and police.
The breed is preferred for its compact size, making it ideal for fast-roping or jumping out of aircraft. Handlers often refer to Belgian Malinois dogs as "Maligators" or "hair missiles" due to their speed and strong jaw, the newspaper noted.