WASHINGTON – The military dog credited in the raid that killed Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has returned to duty after treatment – and presumably treats – after suffering minor wounds in the operation.
Army Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, refused to release the dog's name for security reasons.
"The dog is still in theater," Milley explained to reporters Monday at a Pentagon briefing.
The military's top officer credited the hound's "tremendous service" and said it (gender wasn't released, either) was slightly wounded in the operation to take down the leader of ISIS, the terrorist organization.
The dog is a Belgian Malinois, a breed favored by the military for sensitive missions, according to a Defense Department official not authorized to speak publicly. A Belgian Malinois accompanied Navy SEALs on the raid that killed Osama bin Laden.
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
The dog accompanied a force of U.S. special operators who located and tracked al-Baghdadi at his compound in northwest Syria, about four miles from the border with Turkey, Milley said.
President Donald Trump said al-Baghdadi killed himself by detonating a suicide vest after being trapped in a tunnel. Trump lamented that the dog was wounded in the operation.
“Our canine, I call it a dog, a beautiful dog – a talented dog – was injured and brought back,” Trump said.
What's next for ISIS? What happens to ISIS now, and other things to know following al-Baghdadi's death
Also at Monday's briefing, Milley and Defense Secretary Mark Esper provided a few more details about the raid:
- The military captured two adult male associates of al-Baghdadi and have them in custody.
- Al-Baghdadi's remains were removed and positively identified by DNA at a secure facility. His remains were disposed of properly, Milley said without elaborating.
- Video of the raid, which Trump referred to Sunday in his briefing, is being reviewed and portions of it may be released. It is not clear if the dog had been outfitted with a camera.
Al-Baghdadi died "whimpering, screaming and crying," Trump said Sunday. Trump may have been relying on reports from troops who took part in the raid for those accounts, Milley said.
Esper called his death a "devastating blow" to ISIS, which at its height controlled an area the size of Great Britain in Iraq and Syria.
ISIS remains a threat: ISIS leader is dead, but his Islamic State terrorist group is alive with means to thrive
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi: What happened to the injured dog?