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Italian foreign minister demands punishment for US soldiers in shooting

[JURIST] While acknowledging that the March 4 incident was "accidental", Italian Foreign Minister Gianfranco Fini Tuesday disputed Washington's version of the events that led to the shooting death of an Italian intelligence officer and the wounding of a freed Iralian journalist [JURIST report] by US soldiers at a coalition checkpoint. Fini demanded a full US investigation into the shooting, adding that US claims that several attempts were made to stop the vehicle before opening fire were false. He also disputed the US claim that the vehicle was speeding. While the US has reiterated its claims that soldiers made several attempts to halt the vehicle, which it claims was traveling at high rates of speed, US Central Command issued a news release [text] Tuesday announcing that the Multi-National Corps-Iraq will begin a full investigation into the matter, expected to take three to four weeks. AP has more.

3:10 PM ET - Speaking Tuesday at a Pentagon press conference, Gen. George Casey commander of US forces in Iraq, said that as part of the military investigation of the shootings his officers would investigate procedures followed in all checkpoint incidents in the last six months. Reuters has more.

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