Freed Iraq hostage hit by US fire

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.


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.
I think the word is "Oops!"
Its unfortunate that this incident occured. I wonder why they Italians didnt bother to communicate to MNFI Hq prior to them launching their recovery op? The airport road is a known hotspot for terrorist activity. A car at night speeding at a checkpoint has to be considered hostile.
T6 I gather from mates that have worked with the Eyeties that they are Shite.

Blame them, not the GI. No communication to Uncle Sam at all, methinks.
I concur.
Someone, somewhere, failed to let the men on the ground know what was going on, or thought that they didn't need to observe the rules in a hostile area.
A rotten end to this episode :(
tomahawk6 said:
Its unfortunate that this incident occured. I wonder why they Italians didnt bother to communicate to MNFI Hq prior to them launching their recovery op? The airport road is a known hotspot for terrorist activity. A car at night speeding at a checkpoint has to be considered hostile.
Absolutely tomahawk, i've driven the road many times. All the date palms in the central reservation have been chopped down to give a field of vision to both sides of the carriage way, and the place is a sea of bradley's. I certainly wouldnt fcuk about on that piece of road.

Speeding car, Scared witless squaddie with gun, Bye Bye. Thankfully it wasn't a few months ago when the BW were "oop North"
I'm sure someone will correct me if I'm wrong. I though it was Yank SOP's to fire on any suspect vehicle approaching a checkpoint. The theroy being any non suspect vehicle will stop/slow down. I think this is as they lost a lot of guys to suicide bombers at checkpoints. Therefore anything dodgy gets shot at just incase. Didn't 1BW adopt this on their jaunt up north after that awful incident when they lost guys to a suicide bomber?

As I said correct me if i'm wrong
Italian Press now full of this story. More in the morning, but early editions will be running headlines centred around the Italian Secret Service agent who threw himself across the hostage to shield her. Now talk of a serious gong .

Another story is emerging, subject to confirmation, that the VCP's were warned , and in fact the agent was on the blower to confirm the message was getting through when the car was zapped.
All things considered, whether poor drills or whatever, the facts are yet another Coalition member gives his life. :(

From the int so far a pretty brave guy too.

Respect ... RIP Fella.

The Italians are really pushing the boat out for this individual.

A very very good thing. At least one nation in the EC knows how to treat the memory of it's fallen heroes.
This issue has been bantered about the internet talk boards, ever since it occurred. Now the Italian "hostage" is saying they weren't speeding and it wasn't a checkpoint. Of course, all of the liberals here in the US, believe her.

Sorry, as some others pointed out, its a lonely, dark stretch of a road. They fired warning shots, signalled for the car to stop, and it didn't. Not to mention, they never let command know about the release. Further, why was there not any security with her, an additional car, etc???

Also, it is being confirmed the Italian government paid a ransom to get her out. Just great, more money for the terrorists to purchase weapons, etc.

Its a shame the man got killed. Generally speaking, its a shame when most people get killed, however there are a certain amount of wastes of oxygen in this world.

But, my point is, those soldiers/marines on the ground, are more important then anyone else; in my my book that is.
I refer to BBC news website......the rescued hostage has now stated that she thinks she was deliberately targeted by American Soldiers due to her left wing views......

Really sorry to tell her, but, don't flatter yourself dear, the Yanks aren't really that worried about yet another left winger!

I'll let you read the rest of the article. Kind of makes the blood boil, especially in view of the heroism of her rescuer.
I know it's wrong to cut and paste just certain sections of a report but these lines stood out.

"Earlier, she suggested US troops might have deliberately tried to kill her."

"It can't be just said that it was just an accident. We can't accept this, it is not possible."

"She said Italian officials knew her car was on the airport road and she assumed they had informed the Americans. "

For assumed try fog of war.
For the other two lines I just accept she is a left wing jurno earning her crust.
Bad business bet the trooper isn't happy, alive, but now sweating over the instant decision to save his life.

I felt very much the same when I read her comments in the BBC report.

Somehow it is everybody else’s fault that there was some kind of confusion. I can’t believe she thinks she is so important that some American squaddie is going to deliberately try to blow her away, what planet is she on?

Some of her comments just don’t make sense. Perhaps she should be dropped off back in Baghdad and sort the problem out herself. Ungrateful bitch.

Well done to the Agents though – clearly very brave men and deserve whatever accolades and medals come their way. Shame one paid with his life for this oxygen thief. :cry:

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