World Bulletin/News Desk
Friendly fire probably killed a U.S. Border Patrol agent in Arizona near the Mexican border this week, the FBI said on Friday, citing "strong preliminary indications" from the ongoing investigation.
Before daybreak on Tuesday, Nicholas Ivie was one of three agents responding on foot to a tripped ground sensor, in a well-known smuggling corridor, when gunfire erupted.
They were a few miles north of the border, near the tiny border town of Naco. A second agent was wounded in the incident, but has since been released from the hospital, and the third agent was unharmed.
Ivie was the fourth Border Patrol agent to die in violent circumstances in less than two years in Arizona. His death heightened concern about border security in a state at the forefront of the national immigration debate.
"While it is important to emphasize that the FBI's investigation is actively continuing, there are strong preliminary indications that the death of United States Border Patrol Agent Nicholas J. Ivie and the injury to a second agent was the result of an accidental shooting incident involving only the agents," the FBI said in a statement.
Commander Jeffrey Self of the Customs and Border Protection's joint field command in Arizona told reporters he met with the Ivie family on Friday about the possibility the shooting was a "tragic accident, the result of friendly fire."
U.S. authorities had previously released scant details about the circumstances of the shootings.
The agents were tracking footprints before the incident, said Carol Capas, spokeswoman for the Cochise County Sheriff's Office, which has jurisdiction over the area and is investigating the shootings along with the FBI.
Mexican officials said two men were arrested this week in a military operation near the city of Agua Prieta, a few miles across the border from the shooting scene.
U.S. authorities have declined to comment on those arrests. Capas said her office had not been officially notified of any arrests.
Ivie, 30, had been an agent for over six years, Self said.
Matthew Benson, a spokesman for Arizona Republican Governor Jan Brewer, on Friday defended her comments made soon after the shooting, in which she criticized the federal government for inaction on securing the porous border with Mexico.
"The governor does not make statements lightly on something like this," Benson said. "Her initial remarks were based upon the best information available at the time from law enforcement. Whether this was a friendly fire incident or not, that does not change the tragedy that has occurred here."
U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, a former Arizona governor, held talks with law enforcement officials on Friday at the Border Patrol station where Ivie worked.
Kevin Goates, the Ivie family spokesman, declined to comment on the FBI announcement of the preliminary findings in the case.
He said Napolitano had met with Ivie's widow, Christy, and other family members.
76-year-old Fuad Masum, who also served as the first prime minister of autonomous Iraqi Kurdistan in 1992-1993, reportedly emerged as the only candidate of the Kurdish blocs.
A missing Air Algerie plane that lost contact en route from Burkina Faso is an Airbus A320 carrying 110 passengers to Algiers
1,300 tonnes of chemicals removed from Syria were now being destroyed at various locations
Nearly 300 people, 193 of them Dutch citizens, were killed when the Malaysia Airlines plane en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur was brought down in eastern Ukraine
Ukraine's army has forced the rebels back to their two main strongholds of Donetsk and Luhansk, taking villages and suburbs around them
Politicians and activists have complained that while Ukraine has a new president, it has yet to elect a new parliament since the toppling of pro-Russian leader Viktor Yanukovich
Udaltsov, who has been under house arrest since February 2013, and Razvozhayev were accused of coordinating the protests which turned violent on May 6, 2012
PM's resignation paves the way for an interim government to take over in August and a general election in October
Human rights group B'Tselem will petition Israel's supreme court after advert was deemed to be 'politically controversial'
The bus crossed the track at an unmanned crossing in Telangana state without stopping to check if the way was clear, said Indian Railways spokesman
A huge attack on a prisoner convoy in Iraq has reportedly killed at least 60 people.
Salzburg police said on Thursday around 20 people with flags and placards, mostly Austrians of Turkish origin, stormed the pitch shouting slogans about the Gaza conflict
The leaders of rivals China and Taiwan both expressed condolences over the deaths. Ten people were injured and taken to hospital.
The Strasbourg-based court ruled that Poland had violated articles of the convention on, among others, the prohibition of torture, the right to liberty, and to an effective investigation of their allegations.
More than 50 people have died so far in the violence that has deepened fears post-war Libya is slipping into lawlessness
Khamenei called repeatedly over the years for an end to the Jewish state, including through a referendum in the region, where Palestinians are in the majority.