She is home at last, after a month in captivity.
But it was an injured Giuliana Sgrena that emerged from a plane bringing her back to Rome from Iraq. She had been shot by American forces who mistakenly fired at the car carrying her to safety in Baghdad. Suffering from wounds to her collar bone and lung, she was taken away for medical treatment on her arrival in the Italian capital. A security agent who had shielded her from the bullets, Nicola Calipari, died. Two of his colleagues were injured. It all made the arrival of the award-winning Italian journalist, who works for the Rome-based Communist daily Il Manifesto, a time of anguish and anger as well as relief. The 57-year-old was seized on February 4 as she carried out interviews on the street in Baghdad. She was later seen in an emotional video, pleading for her life and urging US-led troops to leave Iraq. The Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi was among those there to welcome her back. Mystery remains over the exact circumstances of her liberation – whether for example a ransom was paid. Italy has a long and bitter experience of hostage-taking in Iraq, where it has some 3,000 troops posted. Giuliana Sgrena was the eighth Italian national to be kidnapped there Fellow journalist Enzo Baldoni and security guard Fabrizio Quattrocchi are among the hostages who did not make it back home alive. French journalist Florence Aubenas, kidnapped with her Iraqi assistant in January, remains in captivity.