Israel ambassador is latest shoe-throwing target

STOCKHOLM Thu Feb 5, 2009 3:40pm GMT

File image of shoes taken February 24, 2006. REUTERS/Kham

File image of shoes taken February 24, 2006.

Credit: Reuters/Kham

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STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Israel's ambassador to Sweden has become the latest public figure to be targeted by a shoe-throwing protester.

Police said Ambassador Benny Dagan was hit on the leg by the shoe, one of several projectiles thrown when he turned up to address a student gathering at Stockholm University this week.

"During this seminar, someone threw a shoe at the ambassador," university spokeswoman Maria Sandqvist said.

"It was a student organisation that had an event and they had invited the ambassador to talk about the upcoming election in Israel."

Police spokeswoman Petra Sjolander said two people, one male and one female, had been detained and then released following the incident. A public prosecutor was considering whether to charge them.

Sjolander said the ambassador had been interviewed by police and that he had been struck by the shoe. "Yes, on the leg," she said, adding that books had been thrown as well.

Dagan himself and officials at the Israeli Embassy in Stockholm could not be reached for comment.

Last December, an Iraqi journalist hurled both shoes at former U.S. President George W. Bush when he was on a farewell visit to Iraq in December.

Then last Monday a protester threw a shoe at Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao during a speech at Cambridge University in England.

The Foreign Policies Association student group in Stockholm issued a statement on its web site deploring the incident.

"Violence is never a solution," it said.

A video posted on the Internet purporting to depict the event showed objects being hurled across a lecture hall towards a group of people at the front, who then hurried out of the room. A part of the video was blacked out and it was not possible to see who had hurled the objects.

(Reporting by Adam Cox; Writing by Richard Balmforth)

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