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Wounded dog back on the job after tracking Islamic State leader

Al-Baghdadi set off an explosion that killed himself and three children and apparently wounded the dog.

In this photo provided by the White House via the The military working dog that was injured tracking down Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi (White House via AP)
In this photo provided by the White House via the The military working dog that was injured tracking down Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi (White House via AP)

By Associated Press Reporters

A military working dog that was wounded while tracking down the head of the Islamic State is back on duty.

President Donald Trump tweeted a photo of a Belgian Malinois that he said worked with a team of special forces in the capture of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in a tunnel beneath a compound in north-eastern Syria.

The name and other details about the dog remain a secret.

“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!” the president tweeted.

Gen Mark Milley, the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, told reporters earlier on Monday that the animal “performed a tremendous service” in the Saturday night raid.

Al-Baghdadi set off an explosion that killed himself and three children and apparently wounded the dog.

Gen Milley said the dog was “slightly wounded” but is now recovering and has returned to duty at an undisclosed location.

He said the US is protecting the dog’s identify by keeping any information about the canine classified for now.

The US military commonly uses the Belgian Malinois to guide and protect troops, search out enemy forces and look for explosives.

The breed is prized by the military for its intelligence and ability to be aggressive on command, said Ron Aiello, president of the United States War Dogs Association.

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The scene where the Islamic State leader died (Ghaith Alsayed/AP)

“That’s the kind of dog you want to lead a patrol like this,” said Mr Aiello, a former Marine dog handler whose organisation helps active duty and retired military dogs.

“They are the first line of defence. They go out front.”

President Trump gave a dramatic account of the raid, variously saying there was one dog and multiple canines involved in the raid.

He said that as US troops and their dogs closed in, the militant went “whimpering and crying and screaming all the way” to his death.

“He reached the end of the tunnel, as our dogs chased him down,” President Trump said.

PA

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