The U.S. military dog that was injured during the raid on Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s compound has recovered from its minor injuries and returned to duty, according to U.S. military authorities.
When U.S. Special Forces raided Baghdadi’s compound in Syria’s Idlib province, K-9 dogs chased him “crying, whimpering” and “screaming” into a dark underground tunnel, according to President Trump. Cornered, the ISIS leader then blew himself up along with three of his children.
No American soldiers or K-9s died in the raid, but one of the hero dogs sustained injuries during the operation. Trump on Sunday hailed the heroic pooch as a “beautiful, talented dog.”
“Our ‘K-9,’ as they call it,” Trump said, “I call it a dog. A beautiful dog – a talented dog – was injured and brought back.”
“The dog is a war veteran and a valued member of the team,” a currently serving soldier assigned to Delta Force told the Washington Examiner. The soldier did not provide details, pending permission from the dog’s handler and chain of command. Everyone involved in the mission is being debriefed and is out of communication for the time being, the soldier said. Within the community, he says, “The injury to the dog is an injury to one of us. These dogs are a special breed of courageous.”
Monday morning, a U.S. official told Reuters reporter Steve Holland that “the dog is fine and has returned to duty.”
"The dog is fine and has returned to duty," a U.S. official said of the dog that was injured in the U.S. raid on Baghdadi's compound.
— Steve Holland (@steveholland1) October 28, 2019
During a news briefing Monday, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley said the K-9 was “slightly wounded” but is now “fully recovering” and has already returned to duty at an undisclosed location.
Reporters were keen to learn more about the hero dog that helped take down the terror kingpin, but military officials are withholding the K-9’s identity for now.
“We’re not releasing the name of the dog right now,” Milley told reporters in the Pentagon Briefing Room. “The dog is still in theater.”
The general noted that the K-9 had “performed a tremendous service as they all do in a variety of situations,” but the military would not release its name or any photos of the dog to protect its identity.
A photo of the hero dog was later declassified and the president posted it on Twitter.
When asked if he could confirm Trump’s claim that Baghdadi was “crying and whimpering,” Milley said he could not, but added that Trump had spoken with the unit members, while he had not. The general assumed they were the ones who shared the story with Trump.
“I assume [he] was talking directly to the unit and unit members,” Milley explained. “I have not talked to the unit members. I have talked to the commanders, CENTCOM and others but not the unit members down at that level.”
Monday afternoon, President Trump posted a picture of the hero dog on Twitter.
“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 said.