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US Iraq soldier named in Italian agent's death insists he fired on car in self-defense

[JURIST] The US soldier responsible for the death of Italian intelligence agent Nicola Calipari [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] in Iraq in March 2005 told the New York Post [report] Monday that he fired on Calipari's vehicle in self-defense. Calipari was shot to death [JURIST report] by Spc. Mario Lozano [Wikipedia profile] while driving to the Baghdad airport after securing the release of Italian journalist Giuliana Sgrena [Wikipedia profile] from Iraqi kidnappers. A second Italian agent, Andrea Carpani, was also wounded. Lozano is being tried in absentia in Italy [JURIST report] next week for involuntary homicide and attempted homicide.

The event has strained relations between the United States and Italy, which has criticized the US [JURIST report] for not bringing Lozano to trial. While a US investigation [JURIST report] into the incident cleared US soldiers of any wrongdoing, an initial Italian probe [JURIST report] found that miscommunications among US officials, combined with stress and lack of experience, resulted in Calipari's death. AFP has more. RAI News has local coverage [in Italian].

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