Da The Baltimore Sun del 15/04/2005
Originale su http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/nationworld/iraq/bal-te.italy15apr15,...

Italian-U.S. inquiry is said to be stalled

Clash among investigators is reported in joint probe into agent's death in Iraq

ROME - Reluctance by Italian investigators to accept the U.S. version of the killing of an Italian security agent by American troops in Iraq last month is holding up the conclusion of a joint inquiry into the shooting, Italian newspapers reported yesterday.

Also yesterday, the State Department said the investigation was continuing and denied an NBC report that the U.S.-Italian commission had completed a preliminary report clearing the Americans of any wrongdoing in the killing.

The security agent, Nicola Calipari, was killed March 4 at a temporary U.S. military checkpoint on the road to Baghdad airport when soldiers fired on the car in which he was bringing an Italian hostage to freedom. Another intelligence agent and the hostage, journalist Giuliana Sgrena, were wounded.

"Anyone asserting that conclusions have been reached, or anyone claiming that conclusions have been reached, and they know what they are, must be misinformed," State Department press officer Thomas Casey said.

Casey noted that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice had said after meeting Italian Foreign Minister Gianfranco Fini on Wednesday that the most important thing was to do the investigation right, not to do it fast.

An Italian Foreign Ministry official said the commission was continuing its work. The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, declined to comment on the reports of a clash among the investigators.

The commission, ordered by Washington, includes two Italian members and is led by a U.S. brigadier general. It was expected to release its findings by mid-April.

Members of Italy's center-left opposition have demanded the government inform the country about the commission's work.

Newspapers Corriere della Sera and La Stampa reported yesterday that a final conclusion by the commission is being delayed by the reluctance of the Italian members to accept all aspects of the U.S. version of events.

According to the Italian newspapers, a point of contention is the U.S. authorities' refusal to allow Italian investigators to examine the car in which Calipari was traveling when he was shot.

Italy agrees that the shooting was an accident but disputes key elements of the U.S. account. It has denied a U.S. claim that the car was speeding and refused to stop after warnings from the American patrol.

NBC said that the joint inquiry failed to resolve the dispute over the car's speed.

The investigation also found that U.S. troops shot at the car when it was 65 yards away, after flashing warning lights at 130 yards and firing warning shots at 90 yards, NBC said.

Senior U.S. military officials say it took about four seconds from the first warning to the fatal shots but insisted that the soldiers responded properly under the current rules of engagement, NBC said.

NBC also reported that Calipari may have committed a fatal error by choosing not to coordinate his movements with the U.S. military for fear it would jeopardize his efforts to free the hostage.

Italy has said Calipari made all the necessary contacts with U.S. military authorities dealing with airport security.

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