The elite unit of U.S. Navy Seals which killed al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden inside Pakistan had a specially trained explosives-sniffing dog for the surgical strike.

The 79 commandos brought along the military dog for the covert operation on bin Laden's compound in the garrison town of Abbottabad on Sunday, according to U.S. media reports.

The fearless four-legged recruit was strapped to an assault team member during the operation in which the special forces lowered down ropes from the helicopters to storm the al-Qaeda leader's secret lair.

It is unclear what the role of this particular canine was in the 40-minute helicopter raid but he was probably there to sniff out explosives, detect weapons or even apprehend fleeing suspects.

The dog used in the raid would have run down the 9/11 mastermind had he tried to escape, according to the reports.

The breed of the dog was not known and he seems to have been unharmed in the operation and left with his teammates.

The identity of the dog, like that of the 79 Navy Seals, will remain a secret.

But experts say the canine is either a German shepherd or Belgian Malinois — breeds the U.S. Army believes have “the best overall combination of keen sense of smell, endurance, speed, strength, courage, intelligence and adaptability to almost any climatic condition,” according to a military fact sheet cited in The New York Times.

In the Abbottabad compound raid, the dog was equipped with protective body armour before rappelling onto the ground from a hovering helicopter in a support harness attached to its handler, according to the media reports.

Bomb-sniffing prowess

This particular dog was known for its bomb-sniffing prowess and The Daily reports, it was trained to “sniff out enemy troops from up to [3 km] away.”

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