updated 6/14/2009 2:19:52 PM ET 2009-06-14T18:19:52

The U.S. Embassy says two American contractors have been transferred from Iraqi to U.S. custody at the request of the Iraqi government.

The men have been held since June 3 when they were detained with three other Americans by U.S.-backed Iraqi forces as part of an investigation into the stabbing death of a fellow contractor.

The other three have been released on bond.

But embassy spokesman James Fennell told The Associated Press that the two others were transferred Sunday to a U.S. military facility and "remain in custody pursuant to Iraqi judicial orders."

Fennell says the five have been cleared of any link to James Kitterman's killing but face an ongoing investigation into unrelated charges.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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