US President Donald Trump on Monday introduced to the world the military dog involved in the raid that led to the death of Islamic State group leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. “So this is Conan—right now, probably the world’s most famous dog,” Trump said while introducing the dog. “Conan did a fantastic job,” the US president told the White House press corps, assembled for a brief, unannounced ceremony with the Belgian Malinois and its handler on Monday.
“So brilliant, so smart,” said Trump, joined for the event by First Lady Melania Trump and Vice President Mike Pence who lavished fulsome praise of his own on the four-legged “hero.”
“The dog is incredible,” Trump continued. “Conan is a tough cookie. And nobody is going to mess with Conan.”
Baghdadi's safe house in northwest Syria was stormed by special forces along with military working dogs and chased the world's most wanted terrorist leader as he tried to flee. He was cornered in a tunnel beneath the building.
“Conan was very badly hurt, as you know,” Trump told reporters. “They thought maybe he was not going to recover. He recovered actually very quickly and has since gone on very important raids.” “I love this dog,” declared the president, saying Conan had been awarded a “medal and a plaque” for its service.
Trump had highlighted the dog’s injuries when he initially announced the high-profile October 26 operation. The dog was injured by exposed live electrical cables in the tunnel after Baghdadi detonated his vest beneath the compound.
Earlier, US Central Command Commander General Kenneth McKenzie had said the US special operations command military working dogs are critical members of the US forces. These animals protect US forces, save civilian lives, separate combatants from noncombatants, and immobilize individuals who express hostile intent, he said. These special dogs are very good at scenting humans and going after them when they're not immediately obvious.