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US dog injured in raid that killed Baghdadi


Press Trust of India Washington
A US service dog was injured in the "daring" American air raid in northwest Syria that ended in the death of dreaded ISIS leader Abu Bakr-al Baghdadi, President Donald Trump said on Sunday.
President Trump said when the American troops landed in eight helicopters along with specially trained canines, they also had with them a robot, the first of its kind, to go after the ISIS leader inside the tunnel.
Being chased by dogs towards the dead end of a tunnel, Baghdadi killed himself by blowing up his powerful suicide vest, as such the robot was not used, the president told reporters at the White House, giving details of the operation in northwest Syria.
"Nobody was even hurt. Our canine as they call, I call it a dog, a beautiful dog. A talented dog was injured and brought back," Trump said in response to a question.
The US troops blasted their way inside the strong compound, he said.
"They blasted their way in so quickly. It was incredible. Because the building was quite powerful, strong. They blasted their way in and then all hell broke loose. It's incredible that nobody was killed or hurt. We had nobody even hurt. That's why the dog was so great," he said.
"We actually had a robot to go in the tunnel, but we didn't get it because we were tracking it very closely," Trump said, revealing one of the highly guarded secrets of the American counter-terrorism operation.
"We had a robot just in case because we were afraid he had a suicide vest on. And if you get close to him and he blows it up, you're gonna die," Trump said explaining the rational of having a robot in the operation to kill Baghdadi.
He had a very powerful suicide vest while they had it, Trump said, adding that he was getting full reports literally on a minute by minute basis.
It was brutal. When he blew himself up, the tunnel collapsed on top of him on top of everything. He led his three children to death, he said.
Trump said the robot was not used.
"We were moving fast. We weren't 100 per cent sure about the tunnel being dead ended. It's possible that there could have been in the escape patch somewhere along that we didn't know about. So we moved very, very quickly. These people were moving. They were chasing," he said.
"Even not going through the front door. You'd think you go through the door. If you're a normal person, you say, knock, knock, may I come in? The fact is that they (commandoes) blasted their way into the house in a very heavy wall and it took them literally seconds," he said.
"By the time those things went off, they had a beautiful big hall and they ran into. They got everybody by surprise. Unbelievably brilliant as fighters. I can't imagine there could be anybody better than our top operations people," he said.
Baghdadi was the last man that came out from the hideout, before which many of his people were killed or gave up, Trump said.
"He came out with the 11 children. We don't know if they were his children. They might've been. Three died in the tunnel. The tunnel collapsed with the explosion," he said.
Several ISIS fighters are being brought back and are imprisoned, he said.
"We were in contact all day long through, hopefully secure phones. We gathered more or less at five pm. The attack started moments after that," he said.
Trump said getting into that compound from the US was the most dangerous part of it.
"The element of attack that they were most afraid of was getting from our base into that compound because there's tremendous fire power that we were flying over," he said.
It was very dangerous to fly low.
"That's very dangerous. There were shots made, but we think these were people that were indiscriminately shooting. The helicopters took some shots. But we think that these were people that were just random people that don't like to see helicopters. I guess," he said.
Trump said the US had Baghdadi's DNA.
He said for the US troops to get to the body of Baghdadi, they had to remove a lot of debris because the tunnel had collapsed.
"But these people are very good at that. They brought body parts back with them, et cetera, et cetera. There wasn't much left. The vest blew up. But there (are) still substantial pieces that they brought back," he said.
"So, they did an onsite test because we had to know this. And it was a very quick call that took place in about 15 minutes after he was killed. It was positive. It was, this is a confirmation, sir," he said.
Trump said that there were two women in the compound who have died.
"There were two women, ..both wives, both wearing vests. They had not detonated, but the fact that they were dead and they had vests on made it very difficult for our men. They were laying. They were dead. They never detonated, but they were dead," he said.

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First Published: Oct 27 2019 | 10:30 PM IST

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