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UPDATED: 10:29, March 05, 2005
Berlusconi stunned by US shooting at Italian journalist in Iraq
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Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi said Friday he was stunned that the newly released Italian female journalist Giuliana Sgrena was shot and wounded by US soldiers in Baghdad, and demanded an explanation from Washington.

US soldiers shot at the car of Sgrena in Iraq Friday, killing an Italian secret service agent and wounding three others including Sgrena.

Kidnapped since Feb. 4, Sgrena was freed and handed over to three Italian agents on Friday who drove her toward the airport, but the car came under US fire at a checkpoint.

Berlusconi, a close ally of US President George Bush on the Iraq war, said he was shocked by the shooting and had summoned theUS ambassador to explain the shooting incident.

"We were turned to stone when the officials told us about it onthe telephone," local media quoted Berlusconi as saying.

"I immediately summoned the US ambassador ...who will have to clarify the behavior of the US military for such a serious incident, which someone will have to take responsibility for," he added.

According to Berlusconi, agent Nicola Calipari covered Sgrena with his body, and was killed by a bullet, and all three other people in the car were wounded. Sgrena was treated for a shrapnel wound on her shoulder at a US military hospital.

Embarrassed by the incident, Bush quickly expressed in Washington his regret over the loss of life in the shooting.

The US Pentagon said the soldiers had fired at the car when it approached a checkpoint at high speed, only later to discover who its occupants were.

Source: Xinhua

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