RIP, Oriana Fallaci. http://today.reuters.com/news/articlenews.aspx?type=worldnews&storyID=2006-09-15T081821Z_01_L15373609_RTRUKOC_0_US-ITALY-FALLACI.xml MILAN (Reuters) - Oriana Fallaci, one of Italy's best-known journalists and war correspondents who shocked the literary world with a vitriolic assault on Islam after the September 11 attacks on the United States, died on Friday aged 77. Fallaci died in her home town of Florence after battling cancer for several years, a hospital official said. Aggressive and provocative until the end, Fallaci made her name as a tenacious interviewer of some of the most famous leaders of the 20th century. They included Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir, Iranian revolutionary leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini and U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. She covered wars in Vietnam, the Middle East, and Latin America at a time when few women braved the front lines, and was shot and beaten in 1968 during student demonstrations in Mexico. In her interview with Kissinger, Fallaci needled the U.S. statesman until he agreed that the Vietnam War was "useless" and said as a politician he was "the cowboy who leads the wagon train by riding ahead alone on his horse". Kissinger later wrote that her interview with him was "the single most disastrous conversation I have ever had with any member of the press". Fallaci set the pace for a daring life when she joined Italy's anti-fascist resistance during World War Two, then showed the same fearlessness as a war correspondent. In her later years she led a reclusive life in New York but set off a storm with books and interviews assailing Islam after the 2001 suicide attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. She divided her fans when she wrote "The Rage and the Pride", an angry book in which she described Islam as oppressive and Arab immigrants in Europe as dirty and bigoted. In a later book, "The Force of Reason", she wrote that "terrorists" had killed 6,000 people over the past 20 years in the name of the Koran and said the Islamic faith "sows hatred in the place of love and slavery in the place of freedom". A judge in northern Italy later ordered Fallaci to stand trial on charges she defamed Islam, but the case never went to court.