(ANIMAL NEWS/POLICE DOGS) This morning during a counterterrorism police operation outside of Paris, five French officers were injured and a police dog was killed as gunfire and explosions suffused the area of Saint-Denis.

The 7-year-old Belgian Malinois named Diesel assisted the elite French police unit RAID (Research, Assistance, Intervention and Deterrence), and was shot and killed by terrorists during a raid on the apartment where Abdel-Hamid Abu Oud, the suspected mastermind of Friday’s attacks in Paris, was believed to be be hiding.

According to French President Francois Hollande, the six-hour operation led to the deaths of two terror suspects, seven arrests, and the prevention of another potential attack.

French police tweeted this photo of Diesel, a dog they say was killed in the Saint-Denis raid Wednesday. Photo Credit: Police Nationale
French national police tweeted this photo of Diesel, a police dog who was shot and killed during a counter-terror raid in the Saint-Denis area Wednesday morning. Photo Credit: Police Nationale

French police released a photo of Diesel (pictured above) on Twitter which set off an outpouring of sympathy.

“Assault and explosive detection dogs: essential for missions led by RAID members,” French national police wrote.

In the hours after, mourners paid tribute to the dog’s service on social media, circulating photos of Diesel along with the hashtag #JeSuisChien, or “I am dog.”

With details of the raid still scarce and a large part of the region closed off, the tweet was shared thousands of times in just minutes.

Special forces regularly use trained dogs to sniff out explosives, secure perimeters, and, if necessary, attack potential threats.

Belgian Malinois are particularly favored for their agility and tracking abilities.

U.S. Navy Seals also used a Belgian Malinois named Cairo during the raid that resulted in the death of Osama Bin Laden.

Diesel’s death is yet another grand example of a dog sacrificing their life for battles caused by man–further proving that not all heroes are human.

— Alisa Manzelli, exclusive to Global Animal