Man’s Best Friend Acts As American Hero

By Raven Ash

The nation turned its attention to a heroic pup last weekend who helped U.S. military forces combat terrorism.

U.S. military forces executed a raid in Syria on Oct. 26 with the goal of killing ISIS leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

Al-Baghdadi has been the leader of the Islamic State terrorist organization for the past five years. He has remained one of the few ISIS commanders still at large. During his leadership, he gained a reputation for broadcasting beheadings and gaining thousands of new followers for ISIS. The terrorist leader inspired smaller acts of violence in the U.S. and Europe that would be harder to detect and prevent by law enforcement. Al-Baghdadi had a $25 million U.S. bounty on his head at the time of his death.

Al-Baghdadi was in a compound near the Turkish border. Upon arriving at the compound, U.S. soldiers asked those inside the compound to exit. Eleven children were removed from the area.

Four women and two men remained inside the compound and refused to cooperate with military officials. It was made apparent that those who remained in the compound presented danger to U.S soldiers and were killed.

 Inside the compound, al-Baghdadi fled into a tunnel while being chased by a U.S Special Operations Command dog. Al-Baghdadi wore a suicide vest and brought along two children who appeared to both be under the age of 12. Al-Baghdadi soon realized that his capture was imminent and detonated his vest in the tunnel under the compound. The explosion killed al-Baghdadi and both children he had brought into the tunnel. The raid was successful in killing a man responsible for substantial amounts of terror.

Maxwell Hennen, a U.S. Army soldier from the Quincy area, is proud of the military’s ability to be successful in a mission against ISIS.

“It’s a great thing. One less terrorist that not just the U.S., but the world has to worry about. One step closer to ending the war on terrorism and bringing our guys back home,” Pfc. Hennen said.

The dog responsible for cornering the terrorist leader obtained injuries from exposed live electrical cables after al-Baghdadi detonated his vest. The dog has recently been identified as Conan, a male Belgian malinois, after his identity was originally classified for safety reasons. The dog is a four-year veteran of the U.S. Special Operations Command and has been a part of approximately 50 missions.

“The military commonly uses the Belgian Malinois to guide and protect troops, search out enemy forces and look for explosives. The breed is prized for its intelligence and ability to be aggressive on command,” Ron Aiello, president of the United States War Dogs Association, said.

President Trump also took to Twitter to praise the dog and posted a declassified image of the four-legged hero.

“We have declassified a picture of the wonderful dog (name not initally declassified) that did such a GREAT JOB in capturing and killing the Leader of ISIS, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi,” President Donald Trump posted.

Conan has recovered from injuries and returned to duty with its handler. He will also make an appearance at the White House.

AP contributed to this story.

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