Giuliana returns home to Italy Print E-mail
Freed Italian journalist returns home

Saturday 05 March 2005 10:59 AM GMT

Journalist Giuliana Sgrena has returned to Italy, hours after American troops in Iraq fired on the car she was in, wounding her and killing an Italian intelligence officer with her.

A plane carrying Sgrena back from Iraq landed on Saturday at Rome's Ciampino Airport, where Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi was among the dignitaries on hand to welcome her.

Friday's shooting occurred shortly after Sgrena was released after a month being held hostage in Iraq. She left Iraq after being discharged from a Baghdad hospital.

The US military said the car she was riding in after her release was speeding as it approached a coalition checkpoint in western Baghdad on its way to the airport. It said soldiers shot into the engine block only after trying to warn the driver to stop by "hand and arm signals, flashing white lights and firing warning shots".

The Italian intelligence officer, Nicola Calipari, was killed when he threw himself over Sgrena to protect her from US fire, Berlusconi said. US troops took Sgrena to an American military hospital, where shrapnel was removed from her left shoulder.

Sgrena was expected to be transferred to a military hospital for an operation on her collarbone later on Saturday, the news agency Apcom said.