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Italian Reporter Gives Version Of Deadly U.S. Shooting

6 March 2005 -- The Italian journalist wounded by American troops in Iraq after her release by insurgents has rejected the U.S. military's account of the shooting.

And the freed hostage, Giuliana Sgrena, a reporter for the communist daily "Il Manifesto," declined today to rule out the possibility she was deliberately targeted. The White House said it was a "horrific accident" and promised a full investigation.

Sgrena, who was abducted 4 February in Baghdad, was flown home on Saturday. She spoke from a Rome hospital where she was recuperating from a shrapnel wound to the shoulder. An Italian intelligence officer was killed when U.S. troops at a checkpoint fired at their vehicle as they headed to the airport.

"There was no checkpoint and we were going at a normal speed. We were going about 50-60 kilometers an hour -- which for a place like this was completely normal. We were not travelling along the normal road for the airport we were travelling on a privileged road that is less dangerous than the normal one where every day bombs explode."

Neither Italian nor U.S. officials gave details about how authorities won Sgrena's release after a month in captivity. But Agriculture Minister Giovanni Alemanno was quoted as saying it was "very probable" a ransom was paid.