A seven-year-old Belgian shepherd dog named Diesel died in the line of duty when suicide bomber Hasna Aitboulahcen blew herself up during a shoot-out between French police and a number of suspected terrorists in the Paris suburb of St-Denis on Thursday.
The French Police Nationale confirmed the male dog's death in a tweet from its Research, Assistance, Intervention and Deterrence (RAID) unit. Officials said that their highly trained animals were indispensable to the elite unit for their ability to sniff out explosives.
Twitter users picked up on the story of Diesel's death and used the hashtags #JeSuisChien and #JeSuisDiesel as they shared pictures of their own animals in solidarity with Diesel.
Hasna Aitboulahcen, 26, became the West's first female suicide bomber when police raided her Paris apartment during a fierce shoot-out. Aitboulahcen pulled the trigger on her suicide vest killing herself and Diesel instantly.
Animal lovers have called for Diesel to be awarded the PDSA's Dickin Medal, also known as the Animal Victoria Cross. He would not be the first non-British dog to receive it – animals that helped in the aftermath of 9/11 were also recognised for their services.