Military pooch wounded in al-Baghdadi raid to visit White House
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Wag the dog

Military pooch wounded in al-Baghdadi raid to visit White House

US president declassifies dog’s name — Conan — when announcing visit of canine injured as it pursued Islamic State chief through tunnel underneath Syrian compound

In this photo provided by the White House via the Twitter account of US President Donald Trump after it was declassified by Trump, a photo of the military working dog that was injured tracking down Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in a tunnel beneath his compound in Syria (White House via AP)
In this photo provided by the White House via the Twitter account of US President Donald Trump after it was declassified by Trump, a photo of the military working dog that was injured tracking down Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in a tunnel beneath his compound in Syria (White House via AP)

WASHINGTON — Every dog has his day, but it’s usually not at the White House.

US President Donald Trump tweeted Thursday that the military working dog injured in the raid last weekend that killed the Islamic State leader will leave the Middle East for the White House sometime next week.

And the president appeared to have declassified the dog’s name: Conan. That had remained a military secret because of the classified nature of the mission in which Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi died.

In announcing the impending visit, Trump again posted an altered image of him presenting a medal to the dog. The Daily Wire had created the image by taking an Associated Press photo of an actual medal presentation by Trump and replacing the human recipient with the canine hero.

“Thank you Daily Wire,” Trump tweeted after midnight Wednesday. “Very cute recreation, but the ‘live’ version of Conan will be leaving the Middle East for the White House sometime next week!”

Conan was hurt after being exposed to live electrical cables but has returned to active duty, the Pentagon said Wednesday.

Gen. Frank McKenzie, who leads US Central Command, told reporters the dog was injured when it came in contact with the cables as it pursued al-Baghdadi in a tunnel underneath a compound in northwestern Syria.

McKenzie said the dog has worked with special operations forces for four years and taken part in about 50 missions. He said such working dogs are “critical members of our forces.”

When Trump first posted the altered image on Twitter of him presenting a medal to the dog, it came with an all-caps tweet of “AMERICAN HERO.”

The image was derived from a photo taken at a 2017 East Room ceremony to present retired Army medic James McCloughan with the Medal of Honor for saving the lives of 10 men during the Vietnam War. The Medal of Honor is the most prestigious military decoration awarded to US service members.

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