President Donald Trump Monday tweeted a military dog that helped capture the Islamic State leader in northeastern Syria. In the tweet, Trump said the Belgian Malinois took part in the raid with the help of US Special Forces and ensured Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was captured while hiding in a tunnel.
Authorities have not released further details about the dog, including the name.
Gen. Mark Milley, head of staff, said the dog did an excellent job during the raid on Saturday night. Al-Baghdadi died after blowing himself up, killing three other children. The dog was also injured in the explosion.
Milley said the canine suffered minor injuries but is recuperating and is back on duty. He said the location of the dog remains secret because the identity of the dog has to be protected at the moment by ensuring details about the dog remain classified. “The dog’s name won’t be revealed at this moment,” Milley said. “The dog is undergoing treatment.”
The Belgian Malinois is popular with US forces, especially for guiding and protecting troops, tracing the enemy, and searching for explosives.
The military loves this breed because it is intelligent and can be aggressive when on duty, United States War Dogs Association President Ron Aiello said. “This breed fits very well in such a patrol because they offer protection and are always on the lead,” said Aiello, a former military dog handler.
Letting the dog remain anonymous is essential as we need to protect the dog in the same way we won’t reveal the identity of the troops involved in the raid. We could be exposing them to retaliatory attacks.
A Belgian Malinois service dog took part in the 2011 raid that killed Osama bin Laden in Pakistan. The dog was called Cairo. Former President Obama met the dog during an event to celebrate the troops that took part in the raid.
Describing the raid, Trump said a single dog and several others conducted the raid. He said when US troops cornered the militant, he cried and screamed until he was no more. “Our dogs pursued him towards the end of the tunnel, and he had nowhere else to hide,” Trump said.
Continue to page 2 to see video from NBC News on this heroic dog.