Posted Mon Dec 15, 2008 7:11am AEDT
Updated Mon Dec 15, 2008 9:04am AEDT
US President George W Bush's surprise visit to Iraq overnight was marred when an Iraqi journalist threw two shoes at him during a press conference.
Mr Bush was paying a surprise visit to Baghdad just a month before he is due to leave office.
After walking the red carpet inspecting Iraqi troops, Mr Bush held talks with the country's President Jalal Talabani.
"The work hasn't been easy, but it's been necessary for American security, Iraqi hope and world peace," he said.
Later Iraqi reporter Muntazer al-Zaidi shouted "This is a goodbye kiss from the Iraqi people, dog," in Arabic and threw his shoes at Mr Bush during a news conference in the city.
Iraqi security officers and US secret service agents leapt at Mr Zaidi and dragged him struggling and screaming out of the room where Mr Bush was giving a news conference with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.
The shoes missed Mr Bush, who ducked the first and then saw the other sail over his head as he stood next to Mr Maliki. Mr Bush smiled uncomfortably and Mr Maliki looked strained.
"It doesn't bother me," Mr Bush said, urging everyone to calm down as a ruckus broke out in the conference room.
"If you want the facts, it was a size 10 shoe that he threw."
When asked about the incident shortly after, Mr Bush made light of it. "I didn't feel the least threatened by it," he said.
Other Iraqi journalists apologised on behalf of their colleague, a television journalist.
Earlier, Mr Bush ventured out in a motorcade through Baghdad streets, the first time he has gone somewhere other than a military base or the heavily protected Green Zone.
Press pool reports said the unmarked motorcade passed through darkened streets that appeared heavily guarded, before arriving at Mr Maliki's residence.
The visit came a day after the US defence secretary Robert Gates told American troops the mission in Iraq was in its end game.
But the American-led reconstruction of Iraq has been blasted in a US federal report published by the New York Times, which says the project was crippled by poor planning, waste and deception.
The US President has also signed a new security pact which stipulates that American troops must pull out of the Iraq by the end of 2011.
President-elect Barack Obama has promised he will bring all US combat troops home from Iraq a little over a year after taking office, as long as commanders agree a withdrawal will not endanger American personnel or Iraq's security.