WASHINGTON - THE three American hikers arrested by Iran last year were on the Iraqi side of the border, according to US military documents released Friday by WikiLeaks, reported the New York Times.

The internal US document highlights military grids where the group was detained, which the Times said were on the Iraqi side of the border.

Two of the three - Josh Fattal and Shane Bauer - have been held in a Teheran jail for more than a year, and their female companion Sarah Shourd was released last month. All three, along with US authorities, have insisted they were not in Iranian territory.

The document described their arrest as a 'kidnapping' of US tourists, supporting the hikers' claim - contrary to Tehran's insistence - that they were visiting the area but were not US intelligence operatives.

Military officials writing in the document also question the group's 'lack of coordination' on their trip, and highlight a report from the Kurdish military in northern Iraq that the hikers were detained by Iran 'for being too close to the border'. The hikers' lawyer told AFP this week it would begin trying the hikers for espionage on Nov 6.

On Tuesday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton renewed appeals for the release of the two men still in custody on 'humanitarian' grounds, adding that the United States did not believe there was any basis 'whatsoever' for them to be put on trial.

Hikers not in Iran when held