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Iraqi Shoe Thrower Says Bush's Smile Forced Action

The Iraqi journalist who threw his shoes at former U.S. President George W. Bush said Mr. Bush's icy smile forced him to act.

Muntazer al-Zaidi said the president's talk of "victory," combined with what the journalist called his spiritless smile, proved too much after years of war and destruction following the U.S.-led invasion.

The journalist was greeted with cheers as he entered a Baghdad courtroom Thursday. Soon after, the judge postponed the trial until March 12, saying he needed time to determine if Mr. Bush was on an official visit during the December incident.

Al-Zaidi's lawyers argued that Mr. Bush's visit was unannounced and that he was not invited.

The journalist faces up to 15 years in jail on charges of assaulting a foreign leader.

Al-Zaidi has been in police custody since throwing his shoes at Mr. Bush during a press conference in Baghdad on December 14. The act made him an overnight hero to many around the world.

In other news, Iraqi officials said a bus filled with Shi'ite pilgrims collided with a British military vehicle on Wednesday, killing seven Iraqis and injuring at least 27 others.

Separately, Iraqi officials said gunmen killed a member of the country's largest Sunni Arab party in Baghdad on Wednesday.

Samir Safwat of the Iraqi Islamic Party is the latest politician to die in violence surrounding last month's provincial elections.

Voting day was largely peaceful, however, drawing international praise for Iraq's political progress.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.