- Belgian Shepherd killed leading pre-dawn Saint Denis assault
- Police tweets news of death, hashtag prompts tributes
France’s fight against Islamic State claimed its latest martyr: seven-year-old Diesel.
The Belgian shepherd was killed by terrorists holed up in a flat in the suburb of Saint Denis shortly after SWAT teams stormed the building at 4:30 a.m. BFM television reported that she was shot at 5 a.m. She was the only death among among law enforcement. Five police were injured.
French police posted two updates on their social media accounts announcing Diesel’s death, one of which pictured a dog -- though it was not clear if the dog was in fact Diesel.
Diesel’s death prompted an outpouring on social media, including the top-trending Twitter hashtag in France -- #JeSuisChien (I am dog) -- and a Facebook tribute page.
“Even animals are suffering because of ISIS’s cruelty,” according to one Twitter post. Another mourner posted a photo of their dog holding the French flag in its mouth.
Belgian shepherds are trained for assaults and to detect explosives, among other tasks. The U.S. Secret Service uses them to help protect the White House. An animal like Diesel costs $20,000 to train, according to Rob Hawkins, manager of Worldwide Canine, a San Antonio-based company that educates police dogs.
The raid in Saint Denis, which lasted seven hours, targeted what investigators believed was the refuge of the ringleader behind terror attacks in Paris that killed 129 people. Two extremists died, including a young woman who blew herself up, and seven people were arrested.
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"We are in a war against jihadist terrorism which is threatening the whole world" President Francois Hollande