Italian journalist Giuliana Sgrena has been taken to a hospital in Baghdad with gunshot wounds shortly after being released from her kidnappers in Iraq. Ms Sgrena was being driven to Baghdad airport when a US patrol fired at the car, injuring the journalist in the shoulder and killing an officer. The man, Nicola Calipari, had taken part in the operation to free her. Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi confirmed on Italian television that the agent had been killed by US fire. There is no confirmation by the US forces. Ms Sgrena, who was abducted on 4 February, was freed in Baghdad. The Pope, who had appealed for her release, welcomed the news from his hospital bed. A little-known militant group, Islamic Jihad Organisation, had said it kidnapped her and demanded that Italy withdraw its troops from Iraq. The same group said in September it had killed two Italian aid workers, Simona Torretta and Simona Pari, who were later released by another organisation. Tearful appeal A second agent was injured in Friday's shootout, while a third escaped unharmed. The Iraqi driver of the car was also reportedly wounded, according to Italian media sources. Gabriele Polo, the editor of Italian daily newspaper Il Manifesto, which Ms Sgrena works for, praised the courage of the officer. "Nicola Calipari is the person we should thank for Giuliana's liberation," he said. "Unfortunately, he was killed by US fire. This is an atrocious irony, " daily newspaper La Repubblica quoted him as saying. Il Manifesto's editorial director, Francesco Paterno, said he had been told of her release by the Italian government. The information was also confirmed by Italian President Carlo Azeglio Ciampi. Two weeks ago, Ms Sgrena appeared in a video begging for help and urging foreign troops to leave Iraq. In the emotional footage, a tense and tearful Ms Sgrena said: "You must end the occupation, it's the only way we can get out of this situation. I'm counting on you." Shortly after the video appeared, the Italian Senate voted to extend the country's military presence in Iraq. It has been suggested that the video was released to coincide with the vote. Withdrawal Ms Sgrena's capture had surprised Italian observers, as her left-wing paper has always strongly opposed the war in Iraq, says the BBC's David Willey in Rome. Many foreigners have been kidnapped by Iraqi militants, usually demanding the withdrawal of foreign troops or companies associated with the US-led invasion of the country. Some have been killed, while others have been released. Many more Iraqis have been kidnapped, usually for ransom. Ms Sgrena is the eighth Italian to have been taken hostage. An Italian journalist and Red Cross aid worker, Enzo Baldoni, was kidnapped last August and killed by a group calling itself the Islamic Army in Iraq. Four Italians were taken hostage in Iraq in April. One of them, civilian security guard Fabrizio Quattrocchi, was later shot dead by his captors, while three were released.