Italy marks anniversary of killing of intelligence agent at United States checkpoint in Iraq

Authorities on Friday attended a commemorative ceremony to mark the first anniversary of the killing of an Italian secret service agent at a U.S. checkpoint in Iraq .

Senior government officials, including President Carlo Azeglio Ciampi and Defense Minister Antonio Martino attended the ceremony to honor the memory of Nicola Calipari, an agent killed on March 4, 2005 , by U.S. gunfire.

Calipari was heading to Baghdad airport in a car with an Italian journalist who had just been released after being held hostage by insurgents.

Calipari's wife and daughter also attended the ceremony at the Rome headquarters of SISMI, Italy 's military secret service, Italian news agencies reported.

Calipari, who shielded journalist Giuliana Sgrena when gunfire hit the car, was widely seen as a hero in Italy , with as many as 20,000 mourners attending a state funeral held for him in Rome .

The case strained relations between Italy and the United States , and the two countries issued separate reports on the incident after failing to agree on a shared version of events. Italian prosecutors are investigating whether a U.S. soldier has criminal responsibility in the slaying, reports the AP.


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