Photos: Iraqi journalist throws shoes at Bush, misses

Photos: Iraqi journalist throws shoes at Bush, misses

Die Welt reports from Baghdad:

An Iraqi reporter called visiting U.S. President George W. Bush a “dog” in Arabic on Sunday and threw his shoes at him during a news conference in Baghdad. Iraqi security officers and U.S. secret service agents leapt at the man and dragged him struggling and screaming out of the room where Bush was giving a news conference with Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki.

At least Helen Thomas stuck with questions, for the most part.

When asked about the incident shortly after, Bush made light of it. “I didn’t feel the least threatened by it,” he said.

In Arab culture, hitting someone with a shoe is considered a grave insult.

More photos:

Photos: SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

Steven Lee Meyers has more:

[Bush’s] appearance at a news conference here was interrupted by a man, apparently a journalist, who leaped to his feet and threw one shoe at the president, who ducked and narrowly missed being struck. Chaos ensued. He threw a second shoe, which also narrowly missed Mr. Bush. The man was roughly 12 feet from the lecturn in the center of two rows of chairs, about two feet from a pool of reporters. A scrum of security agents descended on the man and wrestled him, first to the floor and then out of the ornate room where the news conference was taking place. 

Apparently, the full insult was, “This is a farewell kiss, dog.” Guess the Iraqi press has a ways to go.

UPDATE: The BBC has the video:

According to McClatchy’s Adam Ashton, the man’s name is Muthathar al Zaidi and works for an Iraqi satellite television station:

Friends said he covered the U.S. bombing of Baghdad’s Sadr City area earlier this year and had been “emotionally influenced” by the destruction he’d seen. They also said he’d been kidnapped in 2007 and held for three days by Shiite Muslim gunmen.