Shoe thrower handed over to Iraqi military
The reported who threw his shoes at U.S. President George W. Bush was handed over to the Iraqi military, an Iraqi official said, as hundreds took to the streets Tuesday for a second day demanding his release. According to the AP, Muntadhar al-Zeidi was turned over by the prime minister's security guards to face further investigation by the military command in charge of enforcing security in Baghdad, the official was quoted as saying.
Al-Zeidi was initially taken into custody by Iraqi security and interrogated about whether anybody had paid him to throw his shoes at Bush during a news conference Sunday in Baghdad, according to the official. He could face charges of insulting a foreign leader and the Iraqi prime minister, who was standing next to Bush. The offense carries a maximum penalty of two years in jail.
In Mosul, Iraq's third largest city located north of Baghdad, an estimated 1,000 protesters carried banners and chanted slogans demanding al-Zeidi's release. A couple of hundred more also protested Tuesday in Nasiriyah, a Shiite city about 200 miles southeast of Baghdad, and Fallujah, a Sunni area west of the capital.
In Baghdad, the head of the Iraqi Union of Journalists described al-Zeidi's action as "strange and unprofessional" but urged Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to give him clemency.
The protests came a day after tens of thousands in throughout Iraq demonstrated in support of al-Zeidi, whose action earned him hero status throughout the Arab world.
Meanwhile, a roadside bomb targeting an Iraqi police patrol exploded in central Baghdad's Andalus Square Tuesday, wounding three police officers and three civilians, said Iraqi police officer Salam Mohammed. The U.S. military said in a written statement that troops killed three suspects and detained three others in separate operations targeting al-Qaeda networks in the northern Iraq.