Italian journalist wounded after release in Iraq, security officer dead

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Saturday, March 5, 2005

Italian security officer Nicola Calipari has been killed, and Giuliana Sgrena as well as two other security agents have been wounded after U.S. forces opened fire on the car they were travelling in shortly after Sregna's release from captivity.

Multinational Force Iraq officials have stated that the car approached a military check-point at speed at 8:55pm Baghdad time on Friday. Soldiers opened fire on the vehicle, injuring Ms Sgrena and killing one other.

"There was suddenly this shooting, we were hit by a hail of gunfire, and I was speaking with Nicola, who was telling me about what had been happening in Italy in the meantime, when he leaned towards me, probably also to protect me. And then he collapsed and I realised that he was dead," Ms. Sgrena told Italy's RAI radio.

She said the shooting continued "because the driver wasn't even managing to explain that we were Italian."

When questioned if the car was going too fast as it approached the U.S. troops, she said: "We weren't going particularly fast given that type of situation."

Ms Sgrena was given medical care by Coalition Forces medical personnel for a superficial wound to her shoulder. Her left-wing newspaper, Il Manifesto, claimed that the bullet had previously passed through the body of Calipari.

The Prime Minister of Italy, Silvio Berlusconi, has demanded an explanation for the shooting. President Bush told Mr Berlusconi during a telephone call that there would be a full investigation, and offered his apologies.

Sources