Washington, Dec 17 (ANI): A White House spokeswoman has said that Iraqi leaders will decide whether punishment is appropriate for the journalist who stunned observers by hurling two shoes at US President George W. Bush from close range.
"The president believes that Iraq is a sovereign country, a democratic country, and they will have a process that they follow on this. The president harbors no hard feelings about the incident," White House press secretary Dana Perino told reporters.
The surprising scene happened on Sunday in Baghdad during an unanticipated trip by Bush, The News reported.
The reporter, Muntadar al-Zeidi, a correspondent for an Iraqi-owned station based in Cairo, Egypt, hurled one of his shoes at Bush and then tossed the other at the president. Bush deftly ducked out of the way both times.
The reporter shouted in Arabic, "This is your farewell kiss, you dog!" In Iraqi culture, throwing shoes at someone is a sign of deep contempt.
Al-Zeidi has been handed over to the Iraqi judiciary, an Iraqi official said on Tuesday, a move that ordinarily signals the start of criminal proceedings.
Hundreds took to the streets on Tuesday in Baghdad for a second day to demand the release of al-Zeidi, who gained folk hero status for his actions.
Yet Perino noted that Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and other journalists at the news conference apologized on behalf of Iraqis for the treatment of Bush.
Bush has downplayed the shoe-throwing incident and even made light of it.
Perino said Bush was satisfied with the speed of the Secret Service's response during the incident. (ANI)