The Army on Sunday paid tributes and laid to rest its canine soldier ‘Axel’ who made the supreme sacrifice during the anti-terror operation but not before pinpointing the location of any hiding terrorists. And thus protected a nearby mosque. The terrorist, later identified as Akhtar Hussain Bhatt, a resident of Kupwara, was killed by security forces after an eight-hour gunfight in Vanigam Bala area of Kareri in Baramulla district on Saturday.
The slain terrorist belonged to the banned Jaish-e-Mohammed. Two-year-old ‘Axel’, a German shepherd attached to the army’s 26 dog unit, played a key role in the operation, officials said.
After an army jawan and a policeman were injured during the encounter, ‘Axel’ attached to the body camera was pressed into action. “The presence of a mosque within 10 meters of the target house further necessitated operation calibration and no high caliber weapon was used to neutralize the terrorist,” an official said.
‘Axel’ was able to pinpoint the location of the hidden terrorist but in the process was hit by enemy fire. Because of ‘Excel’, the security forces can shoot the terrorist without violating the sanctity of the mosque and without causing any damage to it.
“Thank you for your service, Axel,” the Army’s Srinagar-based Chinnar Corps tweeted alongside a file photo of the German Shepherd. The army paid homage to ‘Axel’ at a grand military ceremony in Patton on Sunday.
“Thank you for your service Excel”# Poplar Corps Saluting the bravery and sacrifice of Army Dog No. 74B7 AXEL (Aslt Canine) who laid down his life while on duty at OP Wanigambala, # Baramulla July 30 is the 22nd.#Kashmir@adgpi@NorthernComd_IA https://t.co/X9KRKK30b0 pic.twitter.com/H3dazqVDpP
– Chinar Corps🍁 – Indian Army (@ChinarcorpsIA) 30 July 2022
General Officer Commanding (GOC) of Kilo Force Major General SS Salaria paid tribute to the canine soldier. It was an emotional moment for Axel’s handler, who has been his mentor, caretaker, trainer and close friend for the past two years.
The dog was cremated at the premises of 26 Army Dog Unit in the presence of officers and personnel of the unit. Officials said that ‘Axel’ will always be remembered for his professionalism, bravery and great sacrifice.
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