Published: Tue, November 26, 2019
Culture | By Margie Dunn

Trump trots out Conan, 'incredible' dog injured in Baghdadi raid

The president and first lady Melania Trump flanked the dog on either side as he spoke to the press, while Vice President Mike Pence hung back and pet Conan as the dog sat happily by the legs of her handler, smiling and unphased by the nearby swarm of press.

In the raid last month, Conan 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, according to the United States account. But we would like to invite readers who can afford to do so, and for whom The Times of Israel has become important, to help support our journalism by joining The Times of Israel Community.

"So this is Conan", Trump said.

The president called Conan "incredible, brilliant, smart and very special".

Conan was slightly injured in the operation but has since recovered and returned to active duty.

He recalled the "flawless attack" on al-Baghdadi who was reportedly chased into a tunnel by Conan before blowing himself up in Syria last month.

In one image the president shared on Twitter, a Medal of Honor recipient was replaced with a photograph of Conan - tongue lolling - receiving the honour.

Conan was flown in from the Middle East for the Oval Office meet and greet, in which the dog was presented with a certificate and medal that will go on display in the Oval Office.

The dog's identity had been a closely guarded secret until it was declassified by Trump, who retweeted a picture of the pooch after the raid at Baghdadi's lair.

More tweets followed, with the president eventually revealing the dog's name.

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 president, the first lady, and Vice President Mike Pence appeared in the Rose Garden with Conan to recognize her contribution to the successful raid.

"He was badly hurt but he recovered very quickly". The president also asked the dog's handler about "what chance would a person have against Conan without the guns".

He also lobbed some light jokes at the press, remarking that the special forces officers told him an unarmed terrorist "would have no chance" against Conan.

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