The Italian Almanac

Nicola Calipari

Italian News - March 5

Veteran Italian secret service agent Nicola Calipari was a practiced negotiator who had helped return two hostages kidnapped in Iraq home to their loved ones. At least once before, Calipari reportedly had come close to negotiating the release of yet another Italian hostage in Iraq: journalist Giuliana Sgrena. He had come to Baghdad before, convinced he would leave with the journalist, but left empty-handed.

It finally happened on Friday, when Sgrena was handed over to Italian officials following a month of captivity in the hands of Iraqi insurgents. But the happy occasion quickly turned sour when the car taking Sgrena, Calipari and other agents to the Baghdad airport was fired upon at a US checkpoint.

Calipari was killed as he threw his body across Sgrena.

Calipari, 50, was married and had a 19-year-old daughter and a 13-year-old son. He originally was from the southern city of Reggio-Calabria in the toe of Italy across from Sicily, but had never worked there. He was a 20-year veteran of the police force, and before moving on to Italy’s secret services he had headed the immigration office for Rome’s police.

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