Iranian Prez escapes shoe attack in Cairo

Feb 07, 2013, 06:59 IST | Agencies

Security guards detained five men who tried to hit Mahmoud Ahmadinejad with shoes as he visited a mosque during his visit to the Egyptian capital

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad landed in Egypt yesterday and got a welcome kiss from Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi. But the Iranian leader got a decidedly different reaction in the midst of a crowd when a critic tried to hit him with his shoe.

A video posted by the Anadolu news agency shows a smiling Ahmadinejad shaking hands with a crowd of supporters in Cairo late Tuesday when at least one man threw a shoe toward him outside Al-Hussein mosque. Other men also threw shoes at Ahmadinejad, the Egyptian public prosecutor’s office said.

To throw or not to: Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad shakes hands with people upon his arrival for a visit to the al-Hussein mosque in Cairo. After his visit, a shoe was thrown at him, but it missed. Pic/AFP

“You killed our brothers!” one of the assailants shouted. The agency said the man’s shoe missed Ahmadinejad but struck a security guard.

The men behind the attack were four Salafis, the prosecutor’s office said. One other is supposed to be a Syrian. The video of the incident also shows the man shouting ‘coward’ at Ahmadinejad. It was not clear what the motive was. Media reports suggested it was against Iran’s support for the Syrian government of President Bashar al-Assad.

Ahmadinejad is attending a summit of the Organisation of Islamic Co-operation, a grouping of 57 mainly Muslim countries. The four men were later released on bail for 500 Egyptian pounds (Rs 4,000) each.

Ahmadinejad’s visit to Egypt is the first by an Iranian president in more than 30 years. He was in Cairo visiting the Grand Sheikh of Al Azhar, Ahmed el-Tayeb. Ahmadinejad also visited the historic Al-Hussein mosque.

Shoe attacks
>> In 2008 an Iraqi journalist hurled his shoe at former US President George W Bush in protest against American action on Iraqis. Bush ducked and saved himself

>> Later in 2009, a Sikh journalist hurled a shoe at Home Minister P Chidambaram protesting against the CBI’s clean chit to Jagdish Tytler and Sajjan Kumar in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots case.

>> In 2010, while hundreds of protesters gathered in Britain to criticise his visit while millions struggled in floods back home, a protester aimed a shoe at Zardari, but missed.

>> In December 2011, a jobless man threw his shoes at Ahmadinejad, to protest not having received his unemployment benefits 

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