Four Iraqi soldiers were also captured on Wednesday as they left a US military base west of the city, but the witnesses who found the bodies said on Thursday they were not the same men.

 

On 17 January, two Iraqi soldiers were discovered decapitated in Ramadi, police said.

 

Three days earlier, 15 soldiers travelling in a mini-bus were captured by an armed group as they were leaving a US military base in al-Anbar province, which includes Ramadi.

 

Their capture was claimed by al-Qaida linked Ansar al-Sunna organisation.

 

Basra bombings

 

Meanwhile, three small bomb blasts shook polling stations in Iraq's southern city of Basra on Thursday, but there were no casualties or major damage, a British army spokesman said.

 

"There have been three blast bombs. There have been no casualties and no major damage," army spokesman Captain Phil Smith said.

 

It was not clear what caused the explosions but they did not appear to be grenades, Smith said.

 

He said the blasts took place outside schools designated as polling stations in northern and central districts of the city in the early evening.