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The Celebrity Shoe Thrower

Khaled Wassef is part of the CBS News terrorism analysis team in London.
Journalist Muntadar al-Zeidi, 29, has been working as a correspondent for Iraq's Al-Baghdadiya TV since it launched in 2005. Co-workers describe him as a rather quiet and composed.

He was kidnapped by an unknown armed group while on his way to work on Nov. 16, 2007. His captors released him three days later without claiming any ransoms.

He is known for opposing the U.S. presence in Iraq — a stance often openly expressed in his reports.

Baghdadiya, which put a still picture of President Bush bending down to avoid Zeidi's shoe on its homepage, demanded the release of its journalist in a televised statement broadcasted yesterday. (He's being held and questioned by the Iraqi authorities.)

An anchor of the network, which broadcasts from Cairo, read the statement twice, urging Arab and other foreign media agencies to show solidarity with al-Zeidi.

According to Baghdadiya, several Iraqi tribal leaders and members of parliament contacted the channel to voice support.

The incident was front-page news for almost all of the Arabic press.

Al-Quds al-Arabi's editor, Abdel Bari Atwan, dedicated his entire front page editorial to the incident. He titled it "A Farewell Worthy of a War Criminal."

The Al-Ahram newspaper: "Iraqi Journalist Throws His Shoe at Bush and Calls Him a Dog. Bush: 'Those Things Happen When Freedom Prevails.'"

The incident was also broadcasted (repeatedly) on almost all Arabic TV channels.

Al-Arabiya repeatedly broadcasted footage of the shoe attack, which made the opening headline of Aljazeera's main morning news bulletin today.

Sharquiah TV reported that a hundred lawyers had already offered to defend Zeidi, including the late Saddam Hussein's attorney Khalil al-Duleimi.

Here are some of the comments left by readers of the Arabic press:

From Quds al-Arabi:

  • Reader from Morocco: "The journalist must be released and Bush and the other Iraqi journalist who apologized in the name of the Iraqi press must be put on trial."
  • Reader from Tunisia: "May Allah have mercy upon your mother, and release you from prison. You're a hero. A hero, a hero."

    From Asharq al-Awsat:

  • Reader from the Palestinian territories: "Muntadar al-Zeidi talked to Bush in a way that matched the atrocities he committed and was heard by the entire world."
  • Reader from Saudi Arabia: "This journalist is a source of pride to all Arabs and Muslims."