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Team to Conduct Inquiry Into Checkpoint Shooting

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, March 8, 2005 – U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Peter Vangjel will lead a Multinational Corps Iraq team to investigate the March 4 incident on a Baghdad road that left Italian security specialist Nicola Calipari dead and Italian journalist Guiliana Sgrena wounded, Multinational Force Iraq announced today.

U.S. forces fired on the vehicle Calipari and Sgrena were riding in as it approached a coalition checkpoint on airport road in Baghdad.

The follow-on investigation to the Multinational Division Baghdad commander's initial inquiry into the incident is expected to take about three to four weeks to complete. The command is working closely with the U.S. Embassy, and Italian officials have been invited to participate.

Multinational Force Iraq issued a statement extending the command's deepest sympathies to Calipari's family.

The command also issued a statement saying it regretted the March 4 death of Jr. Sgt. Gardi Gardev from Bulgaria. The Bulgarian government said March 7 the death was the result of U.S. friendly fire.

Officials from 1st Corps Support Command are investigating the incident. More details will be provided when they are available.

MNFI said it is committed to working with its Bulgarian counterparts to determine the cause of the soldier's death.

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