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Iraq Transition

Italy homicide charge for U.S. soldier

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ROME, Italy (CNN) -- An Italian judge Wednesday indicted a U.S. soldier on homicide charges for the fatal shooting of an Italian intelligence agent participating in a hostage rescue operation in Iraq nearly two years ago.

The trial date has been set for April 17, Rome prosecutor Franco Ionta told CNN. The soldier will be tried in absentia and there has been no request to have him extradited, Ionta said.

Italian intelligence agent Nicola Calipari was killed in the March 4, 2005 incident shortly after he secured the release of journalist Giuliana Sgrena, who had been held by insurgents in Iraq.

U.S. soldiers opened fire on their vehicle as it approached a checkpoint en route to Baghdad International Airport.

Sgrena and the driver were injured in the shooting.

A U.S. investigation into the incident found that the vehicle was traveling about 50 mph and failed to stop at a checkpoint when ordered to do so.

It concluded that no disciplinary action should be taken against any soldier involved in the shooting.

However, an Italian investigation found that no clear warning signs were given to the vehicle carrying Sgrena, and found that stress and inexperience among U.S. soldiers played a role in the shooting.

The Italian report also disputed that the vehicle was traveling at 50 mph, saying it was more like 20 to 30 mph and noted there were no speed limit signs posted on the road.

CNN Rome Bureau Chief Alessio Vinci contributed to this report


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Soldiers carry the coffin of Nicola Calipari at his funeral.

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