Trump lauds military dog in raid that led to death of ISIS leader
WASHINGTON : "So this is Conan - right now, probably the world's most famous dog."
In a stream of superlatives, 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 in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
"Conan did a fantastic job," he told the White House press corps, assembled for a brief, unannounced ceremony with the Belgian Malinois and its handler.
"So brilliant, so smart," said Mr Trump, who was joined by First Lady Melania Trump and Vice-President Mike Pence, who lavished praise of his own on the four-legged "hero".
"The dog is incredible," Mr Trump continued. "Conan is a tough cookie. And nobody is going to mess with Conan."
According to the US account of the raid on Baghdadi last month, Conan cornered the terrorist leader in a dead-end tunnel in his Syrian hideout, where Baghdadi detonated a suicide vest, killing himself and two children.
Conan was injured by the electric cables exposed in the detonation but appeared to have made a full recovery.
"I love this dog," declared Mr Trump, saying Conan had been awarded a "medal and a plaque" for its service.
Monday's ceremony triggered a brief flurry of confusion when the White House let it be known after the event that the canine "hero" was in fact a female - only to later reverse course, confirming Conan was well and truly a good boy.
The head of US Central Command, General Kenneth McKenzie, called Conan a "critical member of our forces" with an impressive record of 50 combat missions in four years of service. - AFP