The soldiers charged are Sergeant Michael Williams and Specialist Brent May, both members of the 1st Cavalry Division, which is operating in and around Baghdad, but is normally based at Fort Riley in Kansas.

   

In addition to premeditated murder, Williams has been charged with obstruction of justice and making a false official statement, the 1st Cavalry Division said.

   

The statement on Wednesday said no specifics relating to the charges could be revealed because the army's criminal investigation division was still looking into the matter.

 

The military first announced that two soldiers were under investigation for the deaths on Tuesday.

 

Wrongful deaths

 

Army investigators have launched several inquiries into the wrongful deaths of Iraqis since the invasion last year. 

 

US soldiers allegedly forced a 
civilian to jump into the Tigris

Some have related to the death of prisoners being held at US-run detention facilities, others to civilians killed while US troops were on operations.

   

In one case earlier this year, an investigation was opened after an Iraqi mother said her son had drowned after being forced by US soldiers to jump into the Tigris river from a bridge, after missing curfew.

   

Charges were brought against three soldiers, but have since been dropped against two of them. Involuntary manslaughter charges are still pending against the third.

   

Britain's civilian authorities have charged one British soldier with murder over the killing of an Iraqi civilian in August 2003.