Iraqi journalist throws shoes at Bush

Published December 14, 2008

BAGHDAD It gives fresh meaning to the phrase shooed away.

President George W. Bush ducked a pair of shoes hurled at his head — one shoe after the other — in the middle of a news conference with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, reports AP.

Both shoes narrowly missed their target and thumped loudly against the wall behind the leaders.

`Dont worry about it,` the president said as the room erupted into chaos.

Iraqi reporters started shouting what Bush later explained were apologies for the incident.

`So what if the guy threw a shoe at me?` Bush said, comparing the action to political protests in the United States.

`If you want the facts, it was a size 10,` he joked.

The shoe attack came as Bush and al-Maliki were about to shake hands. The assailant — later identified as television correspondent Muntadar al-Zeidi — leapt from his chair and hurled his footwear at the president, who was about 20 feet away.

`It is the farewell kiss, you dog,` he yelled, according to AFP.

The crowd descended on al-Zeidi, who works for Al-Baghdadiya television, an Iraqi-owned station based in Cairo, Egypt. He was wrestled to the ground by security officials and then hauled away, moaning as they departed the room. Later, a trail of fresh blood could be seen on the carpet, although the source was not known.

The sole of shoes are considered the ultimate insult in Arab culture.

See the video on YouTube here http//www.youtube.com/watch?v=_RFH7C3vkK4

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