The US soldiers shot the Iraqis dead after handcuffing them together, leaving them defenceless.

Shocked eye witnesses believed the soldiers took the law into their hands in revenge for the death of two colleagues  the previous day.

The Iraqi victims were left near a crossing next to the main gate of the city for four hours.

Aljazeera’s correspondent in Ramadi, Abd ul-Azim Muhammad, interviewed several eyewitnesses who all confirmed the murders.

Wild revenge

Earlier, a US patrol had been attacked by hand or rocket-propelled grenade.

The attack occured at noon on Monday in north Ramadi, killing two US soldiers, eyewitnesses told Muhammad. 

“In response, US forces set up checkpoints at the gates of the area,” the correspondent said.

Stopped at a checkpoint, only to
be executed and left for hours

“They then arrested two Iraqis that were riding a motorbike … handcuffed and executed them, suspecting they were the resistance fighters who carried out the attack.”

Occupation forces prevented people from approaching the murdered victims, eyewitnesses added. 

But after four hours, some locals transferred the bodies to a hospital in the city when US forces abandoned the check-point, the correspondent said.

“People were extremely enraged as the two Iraqis were executed,” he added.

Violent skirmishes have been heard in Ramadi over recent nights. 

Monday was no exception. “Explosions and shootings were heard continuously throughout the night,” said Muhammad.

“US forces, backed with helicopters looming over the city, fired flares in all directions,” he added.

War crimes tribunal

The shootings came just hours before a US-backed Governing Council announced it would establish a war crimes tribunal to try ousted Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and his top aides.

"The Governing Council will take it upon itself to try them and to punish them according to law," said Entifadh Qanbar, spokesman for the Iraqi National Congress (INC).

"That includes Saddam Hussein, the biggest criminal," he said.

The INC is led by Governing Council member Ahmad Chalabi, who is backed by Washington and convicted on fraud charges in Jordan.

It was not clear if the council would try the ousted president in absentia.

The recently formed 25-member council set up a committee to draw up legislation that would allow it to indict suspected war criminals and put them on trial.

The council is hoping to target war criminals involved in mass killings, executions and chemical attacks against Kurds in the 1980s, according to Qanbar.

He also said that the council would create a commission to look into ways to eliminate the Baath Party - the ruling party of the former government - from Iraqi society.