The Italian Almanac

bombing at Nassiriya

Italian News / Television - March 30

A suicide bombing in Iraq which caused Italy's heaviest military losses since World War II is to be the subject of a mini television series. The 2003 attack on Italy's peacekeeping contingent in southern Iraq had a huge impact on the public consciousness, producing a surge of national pride but also polemics over the mission the victims were involved in. "It's a difficult job, very complicated. I know I'm venturing into a sensitive," said Pietro Valsecchi, producer of the TV series, which will be called Nassiriya.

Nassiriya is the name of the Iraqi town where the attack happened, and where the bulk of the Italian contingent in Iraq is still based. At about 10.40 local time on the morning of November 12, 2003, two cars loaded with explosives drove at high speed into the building hosting the headquarters of the Carabinieri contingent. The blasts tore the front off the building and left huge craters in the ground. The death toll was 27. The victims included 12 Carabinieri, five soldiers, two Italian civilians and nine Iraqis.

Although the subject matter is a source of political division as well as highly emotive for Italians, Valsecchi stressed that the production would have no political message. "It's not going to be a film with a message. I'm just going to tell the story of those people who went over there, each with his own mission. One went to work in a hospital, another to do research on Mesopotamian treasures, another teaching Iraqis. The idea is to raise awareness of the work of our lads, of their generosity, their determination to do something for Iraq."

Filming of the new series is scheduled to start in May and private TV channel Canale 5 is expected to broadcast it on November 12, the third anniversary of the attack.