The Naval Special Warfare Command, based in San Diego, California, had earlier this month charged four other members of the elite sea-air-land commando unit (SEAL) with abuses.

The navy did not identify the seven, but said the charges against the four announced on Friday included aggravated assault with intent to cause death and serious bodily harm, arising out of last year's death of an Iraqi who had been beaten.

Other charges relate to the maltreatment of detainees, obstruction of justice and failure to report abuse.

Abuse inquiry

The sailors, part of a large contingent of US special operations troops in Iraq, were charged in a continuing inquiry by the Naval Command Investigative Service into alleged detainee abuse in Iraq from October 2003 to April 2004.

Army investigators found that the Iraqi detainee who died was struck on the head with the butt of a gun when taken into custody by navy commandos. The man was then brought to Abu Ghraib prison on the outskirts of Baghdad by the CIA and placed in a shower with a bag over his head.

His death was attributed to a blood clot in his brain that likely stemmed from the blow to the head.

Thought to be rampant, the scandal over prisoner abuse in Iraq first erupted when pictures of inmates being tortured and humiliated by US prison guards at Abu Ghraib surfaced earlier this year.

Seven US army reservists, all military police soldiers, have been charged with the abuses, and military investigators have recommended charges against dozens of others in the army.