President Donald Trump released a photo of the military dog involved in the capture and killing of ISIS terrorist leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, while another report said the dog has returned to duty.
“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.
The president and other officials on Sunday said the dog was injured during the raid in northern Syria. No soldiers were injured.
“Our ‘K-9,’ as they call it,” Trump said on Sunday. “I call it a dog. A beautiful dog—a talented dog—was injured and brought back.”
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! pic.twitter.com/PDMx9nZWvw
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 28, 2019
Army Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters Monday that the dog has returned to duty, according to the Military Times.
The name of the dog is not being released because of the classification of the unit involved in the raid.
“We are not releasing the name of the dog right now,” Milley said. “Slightly wounded and fully recovering – but the dog is still in theater, returned to duty, with its handler. So, we’re not going to release just yet photos or names of dogs or anything else. It’s a classified unit and (we’re) protecting the dog’s identity,” he said, according to Reuters.
Baghdadi, who had led the terrorist group since 2010, killed himself by detonating a suicide vest after fleeing into a dead-end tunnel as U.S. forces closed in, Trump said in a televised address from the White House.
He was positively identified by DNA tests 15 minutes later, the president said.
“He was a sick and depraved man and now he’s gone,” said Trump, adding that capturing or killing al-Baghdadi had been his administration’s top national security priority.
Hours later, the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia said Islamic State spokesman Abu al-Hassan al-Muhajir, described as al-Baghdadi’s right-hand man, had also been killed in a separate joint raid by Kurdish-led and U.S. forces in northern Syria.
Long been sought by the United States – which offered a $25 million reward for his capture – al-Baghdadi was a terrorist leader of a jihadist group that at one point controlled large areas of Syria and Iraq, where it declared a caliphate.
Trump stated that the terrorist leader “reached the end of the tunnel as our dogs chased him down. He ignited his vest, killing himself and his three children”
He added: “He died … whimpering and crying and screaming.”
Reuters contributed to this report.