A gunman burst onto the stage and pointed a gas pistol at a Bulgarian politician during a televised speech at a party caucus today.
Ahmed Dogan, 58, the retiring leader of the Movement for Rights and Freedoms party, struck the attacker before he was able to fire any shots.
A gas pistol is a non-lethal weapon used for self-defense, however when fired at close-range, it can cause life-threatening injuries.
Video of the skirmish shows other delegates wrestling the gunman to the ground, and then kicking and beating him.
The suspect was identified by police as 25-year-old Oktai Enimehmedov, who is an ethnic Turk and an activist member of the group “I Hate Dogan,” according to Bulgarian media reports.
The group is not large, but is committed to ousting the retiring leader from political life.
Enimehmedov was arrested and taken to a local hospital, but it was not known what injuries he may have sustained in the scuffle.
The MRF party represents mostly ethnic Turks and Muslims in Bulgaria.
Enimehmedov did not reveal a motive , however initial Bulgarian media reports indicate he may have been trying to humiliate, not assassinate, the leader.
The attack was the worst on a Bulgarian politician since the 1996 slaying of ex-prime minister Andrei Lukanov.