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Funeral Service Held For Italian Officer Shot In Iraq

7 March 2005 -- A state funeral service for Italian intelligence officer Nicola Calipari started in Rome today.

Calipari was shot dead by U.S. troops as he escorted an Italian journalist to the Baghdad airport on 4 March. Calipari was in Iraq to help negotiate the release of captured journalist Giuliana Sgrena.

U.S. troops fired on their vehicle as they drove to the airport. Calipari shielded Sgrena with his body and suffered a gunshot to the head, dying instantly.

Calipari is receiving a state funeral and was posthumously awarded Italy's gold medal of valor for his heroism.

There were conflicting versions of the shooting incident.

Meanwhile, Bulgarian Defense Minister Nikolai Svinarov said today that a Bulgarian soldier killed in Iraq last week likely was a victim of friendly fire. Svinarov said it appeared U.S. troops mistakenly fired on a coalition patrol south of Baghdad.