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Police dog killed during French terror raid to be awarded bravery medal

Diesel is getting the animal equivalent of the Victoria Cross.

FRANCE SOCCER File photo a French police dog during a search earlier this month. Source: Associated Press

A POLICE DOG shot down during a French anti-terror raid in November is to be awarded with the highest honour an animal can receive.

Diesel, a seven-year-old Belgian Malinois, took part in an early morning search of apartments in the Saint Denis suburb of Paris on 18 November, less than a week after more than a hundred people were killed in terror attacks across the city.

However, he was caught up in gunfire, and pronounced dead at the scene later at 10am. His death drew attention from around the world, and while the human cost of the attacks were remembered, #JeSuisChien also trended on Twitter.

Paris Terror Attack Police activity during the raid on an apartment in the Saint Denis suburb of Paris. Source: Steve Parsons/PA Wire

During an unusual silence during the gunfight, Diesel was sent ahead of officers to check if anyone remained. The dog would then either attack anyone in the room, or indicate to officers where they were.

His handler told French radio station RMC: “He did a tour of the first room, then he went into the second room and dashed forward. I think he’d found someone. Then I lost sight of him and the gunfire started again.”

I had absolute confidence in him, and him in me. Both of us knew how the other would behave in the situation.

Following a nomination by The Sun newspaper, Diesel will now be awarded the 66th Dickin Medal by UK animal charity PDSA.

Animals previously awarded the honour have included 29 other dogs, 32 World War II messenger pigeons, three horses, and one cat.

The charity’s director general Jan McLoughlin said they were “inundated by messages from members of the public to recognise his heroism”.

Major RULP Jean-Marc Lenglet of the French National Police said: “Diesel’s handler has been deeply affected by the death of his dog, as have many thousands of well-wishers who sent messages of condolence for Diesel who died in the service of his country.”

Diesel will be posthumously awarded the honour in the new year. In response to Diesel’s death, Russia sent a puppy to France in a gesture of solidarity following the Paris attacks.

Russia Paris Attacks Puppy A puppy, named Dobrynya, at the ceremony where he was presented to French police in the French Embassy in Moscow, Russia. Source: Associated Press

Read: Irishman and his dog trek across Balkans to raise funds for sick children

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Nicky Ryan

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