SOFIA, Bulgaria – Shots were fired by unknown assailants at Bulgarian President Georgi Parvanov (search) during his brief visit to Iraq, a senior security official said Monday.
Gen. Dimitar Vladimirov, who accompanied the president during his unannounced visit Sunday, said that the shots were fired at his motorcade on the road between the Polish and Bulgarian bases in the Shiite holy city of Karbala (search).
"A brief exchange of fire took place between unknown assailants and the convoy," Vladimirov said after the military plane carrying the president landed in Sofia early Monday.
He said that the attackers were in two cars. They fled after the president's security detail counterattacked. No one in Parvanov's party was hurt.
The plane was carrying the remains of Sgt. Dimitar Dimitrov, 25, killed Friday in a shootout after a Bulgarian military convoy was ambushed by insurgents in Karbala. He was the sixth Bulgarian soldier killed in Iraq.
Ten Bulgarian soldiers of the 485-member battalion — including seven suffering from "combat stress" — also returned with the plane.
In Iraq, Parvanov and army chief-of-staff Gen. Nikola Kolev met with U.S. administrator Paul Bremer (search) and with Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, commander of U.S. forces there, the president's office said.
"The fight for peace in Iraq has proved much more difficult than the military defeat," Parvanov told the Bulgarian soldiers during their meeting.