US military authorities said they would seek the death penalty against two of the soldiers.

 

A US military official said on Wednesday that: "Major-General Thomas Turner has referred charges against four soldiers to trial by general court-martial."

 

The charges against the Fort Campbell soldiers involve the rape and murder of 14-year-old Abeer Qassim al-Janabi in her family's home in Mahmoudiya, about 32km south of Baghdad - a case that led to international outrage and added to claims of abuse by US forces in Iraq.

The military had earlier announced that a total of eight soldiers would be court-martialed, with four others to be tried in a separate court martial on charges of murdering Iraqi detainees in northern Iraq's northern Salahuddin province during a raid on a village.

Two of the soldiers are also accused in the rape and murders, but will not face the death penalty, the military said in a statement.

Murder counts

Another soldier who was discharged for a personality disorder and arrested in North Carolina, is to be tried in federal court in Kentucky. He has pleaded not guilty to one count of rape and four counts of murder.

Military prosecutors have said the five - all from the division's 502nd Infantry Regiment - planned the attack from a checkpoint near the family's home, changed their clothing to hide their identities and set the girl's body on fire to destroy evidence.

In the other case, four are accused of murdering three Iraqi men taken from a house May 9 outside Samarra, about 96km north of Baghdad.