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Italy to contradict US account of Italian agent's killing

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Italy to contradict US account of Italian agent's killing

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Italy is set to publish its own version of exactly how Italian intelligence agent Nicola Calipari came to be shot dead in Baghdad two months ago. An American report released late on Saturday blamed the Italians for poor communications and not heeding warnings. Washington has said no soldiers will be disciplined.

Italy’s Foreign Minister Gianfranco Fini said there were several points that Rome disputed. He refused to endorse the US report which is largely based on the testimony of US soldiers. An Italian official has called that testimony “contradictory and in some cases totally untrustworthy.” Security sources quoted by the Corriere della Sera said the Italian report would accuse the US military of “tampering with the incident scene” and removing forensic evidence.

Nicola Calipari was shot in the head as he shielded Italian journalist Giuliana Sgrena, whom he had just freed from her kidnappers. Their car had come under fire from US troops on the public highway to Baghdad airport. It was one of many such incidents in Iraq that have cost the lives of civilians.

The US report said the car ignored warning shots and did not slow down until bullets began hitting it. Italians contend that a three-second warning was not enough for the driver to stop before the car was struck by lethal rounds. The death of Nicola Calipari, who has become a national hero, has prompted calls for the withdrawal of Italy’s 3,000 troops to be speeded up.