Someone Tried to Attack Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Cairo Today…With a Shoe

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (C) gestures at the end of an official visit to al-Hussein mosque in Cairo on February 5, 2013. (Photo: AFP/Getty Images)

International media is reporting that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s historic trip to Cairo has been married by a shoe-throwing incident.

The Atlantic summarizes what we know:

There were conflicting reports about who threw the offending footwear, as a local Turkish outlet originally stated that he was “physically assaulted” by an angry Syrian citizen. Then Luke Russert said that NBC had a report of four Sunni Salafist men being arrested for the attack. Finally, a video surfaced that showed a shoe thrower not really coming that close to Ahmadinejad.

It’s not quite the Iraqi journalist who launched two shoes at President George W. Bush at a press conference four years ago, but, really, everyone in this shot is probably closer than anyone should be able to get in public to a world leader with a lot of enemies…

Video of the attack is hard to make out, but you can see Ahmadinejad in an extremely crowded of group of people, smiling and gesturing, before the tone seems to change.  A shoe appears and completely misses the Iranian leader, and then Ahmadinejad is hurried away. Turkish news service Anadolu Ajansi has the footage:

Ahmadinejad was reportedly attacked after he left the historic Al-Hussein mosque in Cairo, where he was reprimanded for his support of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Turkish media reported that the man who threw the shoe had a Syrian accent and accused Ahmadinejad of killing his brothers.

Hitting someone with a shoe is extremely offensive in the Middle East since shoes are considered unclean and, The Telegraph notes, are associated with the lowest part of the body.