'Hero' dog who hunted Baghdadi 'too busy' to meet Trump right now

'Hero' dog who hunted Baghdadi 'too busy' to meet Trump right now
US President Donald Trump has said that the 'hero' dog that helped pursue IS leader Baghdadi will visit him 'soon' after his handlers said he is busy on a mission.
2 min read
07 November, 2019
Conan the army dog is a veteran of several combat missions [Getty]
The "hero" canine that reportedly pursued Islamic State group leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi to the place of his death will visit the White House "soon", US President Donald Trump insisted on Wednesday.

The dog, identified by Washington as 'Conan', assisted in the recent US military mission in Syria which resulted in the death of the Islamic State group leader last month.

"He's coming to the White House very soon," Trump said at a rally in Louisiana.

"I said, 'bring him now,' they said, 'He's on a mission.' I said, 'You gotta be kidding. Come on, give him couple of days rest, please,'" he added. 

The Belgian Malinois' identity was a closely-guarded secret until it was declassified by US President Donald Trump, who retweeted a picture of the tongue-wagging pooch after the raid at Baghdadi's lair in northern Syria.

According to reports, the canine is a veteran of numerous combat missions.

"You know who the real hero is, forget about Trump, the dog was the great hero, Conan," Trump said on Wednesday.

Conan is said to have chased Baghdadi into a dead-end tunnel in his Syrian hideout, where the cornered IS leader detonated a suicide vest, killing himself and two children.

Conan was injured by the electric cables exposed in the detonation but is expected to make a full recovery. 

In the aftermath of the Trump administration revealing the dog's identity, national security experts took to Twitter with serious complaints that declassifying Conan's details could have breached national security.

Read more: Islamic State names new leader after death of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi

"For those joking about the classified dog name, there's actually a security reason for it: Knowing dog's name, u can determine the handler," tweeted retired army general Mark Hertling, a former commander of US land forces in Europe.

"Knowing the handler, u can determine the unit; Knowing the unit, tells which Delta unit(s) was part of the raid."

At the first press briefing after the operation, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley, hailed the animal's "tremendous service" but also said its identity must be protected.

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