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Italians Mourn for Agent Slain Following Hostage Release


Thousands of Italian mourners are paying final respects Sunday to an intelligence agent killed in Iraq Friday, as the hostage he helped free alleged U.S. troops may have deliberately targeted her.

The body of Nicola Calipari, hailed as a national hero, lay in state in Rome before a state funeral Monday.

A senior White House official White House Counselor Dan Bartlett Sunday called his death a "horrific accident" and again promised a full investigation.

Earlier Sunday, freed journalist Giuliana Sgrena disputed the U.S. military's account, saying the car carrying her to Baghdad airport had not been speeding and was fired upon without warning.

Ms. Sgrena also suggested the United States may have deliberately targeted her because it opposes negotiating with kidnappers. The Italian agriculture minister said it is likely a ransom was paid to free Ms. Sgrena, but there has been no official confirmation.

President Bush and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld have both telephoned their condolences and have promised a full investigation.

Some information for this report provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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