A heroic dog that was injured during the U.S. military operation that killed Islamic State (ISIS) leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has already returned to duty, the U.S. government said Monday.
“The dog is fine and has returned to duty,” an unnamed U.S. official told Reuters White House correspondent Steve Holland.
President Donald Trump lauded the canine at Sunday’s press conference in which he offered vivid details of how the elite U.S. Army special operators took down one of the world’s most wanted terrorists.
“Our ‘K-9,’ as they call it, a beautiful dog, a talented dog, was injured and brought back,” the president said in his national address from the White House.
Speaking to the Washington Examiner, one Delta Force soldier said of the dog’s wounds: “The injury to the dog is an injury to one of us. These dogs are a special breed of courageous.”
Neither President Trump nor the Department of Defense (D0D) has released additional details regarding the canine soldier, but retired Marine Ron Aiello told the New York Times that the dog was either a Belgian Malinois or German Shepherd.
“If they’re leading the patrol, they want a dog that is not only an explosive detection dog but on command can be aggressive,” said Aiello. “On a mission like this you want a dog that can be aggressive when necessary.”
In 2011, U.S. Navy SEALs similarly used a dog during the raid on Osama bin Laden’s secret compound in 2011, which resulted in the Taliban leader’s death.
Offering more details about this weekend’s raid, President Trump said al-Baghdadi fled from U.S. military personnel during the operation and detonated a suicide vest in a dead-end tunnel, killing himself and three children.
An on-site DNA test confirmed al-Baghdadi’s identity.
“He was whimpering, screaming and crying, and frankly, I think it’s something that should be brought out so that his followers and all of these young kids that want to leave various countries – including the United States – they should see how he died,” the president said of the now-dead terror chief. “He didn’t die a hero, he died a coward – crying, whimpering, and screaming and bringing three kids with him to die. Certain death.”
“No personnel were lost in the operation,” Trump added, “while a large number of Baghdadi’s fighters and companions were killed with him.”
The UPI contributed to this report.