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Hero dog in Baghdadi raid gets invite to the White House

One of the heroes in the raid on Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s compound in Syria was a military working dog who chased and cornered al-Baghdadi in a tunnel and then was slightly injured when the ISIS leader detonated a suicide vest.

In the press briefing image shown above, U.S. Marine Corps Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, commander of U.S. Central Command, speaks at the Pentagon as a photo of Conan is shown behind him. The dog is a four-year veteran of the United States Special Operations Command program and has taken part in about 50 combat missions, McKenzie said.

Immediately after the raid, U.S. officials insisted on keeping the dog’s name secret until he was safely home, saying it would reveal too much information about his classified unit in the Army’s Delta Force, reports The Washington Post.

President Donald Trump appears to have declassified his name when he announced on Twitter that “Conan” will be making a visit to the White House next week. The dog is still on duty in the Middle East.

The dog is a male Belgian Malinois — an active, intelligent working breed often used in the military and law enforcement. He was named after comedian and talk host Conan O’Brien, Newsweek reports.

The president also shared an edited photo that showed him bestowing the Medal of Honor on the heroic canine instead of the original human recipient, which prompted a swift response on Twitter. Although many just cheered for Conan, others were irate that the dog’s name had been declassified, that the image had been doctored and that the president appeared to be using the military K-9 to gain fans.

When Conan does visit the White House, he likely will pose for photos, but he won’t receive a real Purple Heart or valor medal, according to The Washington Post. The U.S. once bestowed those honors on military dogs but discontinued the practice due to concerns that it took away from the feats of heroic humans.