U.S. military investigation into the death of an Italian intelligence officer at a Baghdad checkpoint is expected to find that American soldiers followed procedure when they shot him, according to reports.
But the probe will raise questions about how much force U.S. troops can use when they are manning checkpoints in Iraq and face potential threats, the Associated Press reported Monday, quoting a U.S. Defence Department official.
News reports in Italy said the Italian officials who participated in the investigation disagreed with the findings. The report is not yet finished, tells CBC News.
According to the Boston Globe, if the Italians don't join, the report's credibility would be hurt in Italy, a nation that sent 3,000 troops to Iraq after the U.S.-led invasion.
The Italian officer, Nicola Calipari, died trying to shield journalist Giuliana Sgrena, a hostage he had just helped free from her insurgent captors. He was killed when U.S. soldiers at the checkpoint fired on the car as it approached them. The freed hostage and another Italian officer, who was driving, were wounded.
The U.S. official left open whether soldiers at the temporary checkpoint during the March 4 shooting could face specific criticisms for aspects of their performance. But a conclusion that they followed their orders would make it less likely they would be accused of making significant mistakes.
From the first hours after the shooting, Rome and Washington have differed over what led to the killing.
In the days after the shooting, the top U.S. general in Iraq, Gen. George Casey, ordered a review of violent incidents at checkpoints to avoid any future mistakes. The shooting took place just a few days after a Bulgarian soldier was killed in a possible friendly fire shooting at another checkpoint in Iraq.