White House Denies Troops in Iraq
Car of Freed Italian Journalist
By Paula Wolfson
Bush’s spokesman says it is absurd to suggest U.S. troops would
knowingly target civilians in Iraq. The comments came as an Italian
security agent, killed at a Baghdad checkpoint, was given a state
funeral in Rome.
helped obtain the release of an Italian journalist who had been
held hostage for a month in Iraq.
on their way to Baghdad airport when the shooting occurred. Accounts
of what happened vary, and an investigation is underway. But the
former hostage – a reporter for the communist daily Il Manifesto
– has suggested U.S. troops opened fire because Italy may have
paid a ransom for her release.
about her comments, White House Spokesman Scott McClellan said
the notion that U.S. forces would knowingly fire on innocent civilians
is absurd. He said the highway to Baghdad airport is one of the
most dangerous roads in Iraq.
The coffin of late Italian intelligence officer Nicola Calipari
is carried during his state funeral in Rome
"It is a road where suicide bombers have carried out attacks,"
said Scott McClellan. "It is a road where regime elements
have fired on coalition forces."
He said American
troops serving there are working in a combat zone, and, sometimes,
have to make split second decisions.
go out of their way to protect civilians and avoid civilian casualties,"
he said. "And we are cooperating closely with Italian authorities
on the investigation."
House spokesman said it is important for the investigation to
be full and complete. He made clear the White House believes no
one should jump to conclusions, until all the facts are in.