US President George W Bush has made a personal apology over the shooting of a Koran by an American soldier, the White House has confirmed.

Mr Bush made the apology during one of his regular video conferences with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki.

The soldier was sent home by the US military after the Muslim holy book was found riddled with bullet holes at a shooting range by Iraqi police.

The US military said last week that the soldier would be disciplined.

He was unnamed, but was said to be a staff sergeant in a sniper section.

'People's anger'

Mr Maliki's office said in a statement: "The American president apologised on behalf of the United States... promising to present the soldier to the courts."

Mr Maliki had expressed the anger felt by the Iraqi people, his office said.

A US military spokesman last week described the shooting as "both serious and deeply troubling", but stressed it was an "isolated incident and a result of one soldier's actions".

US military authorities have already apologised to community leaders in the area, west of Baghdad.
The military presented the elders with a new copy of the Koran.