BAGHDAD - AN AMERICAN soldier was charged on Wednesday with killing two fellow US troops and wounding a third after an argument last month in a former Iraqi insurgent stronghold turned deadly.

Specialist Neftaly Platero was charged with two counts of murder and one count of attempted murder in a Sept 23 shooting in Fallujah, about 65km west of Baghdad.

A statement issued late on Wednesday by the US military in Baghdad described the killings as premeditated but offered no other details.

Earlier, a US military spokesman said Platero was accused of shooting the three soldiers after a verbal altercation. The spokesman, Col. Barry Johnson, did not know what the argument was about.

Private First Class Gebrah Noonan, 26, of Watertown, Connecticut, and Specialist John Carillo Jr, 20, of Stockton, California, died the day after the shooting. The name of the wounded soldier has not been released, and the statement Wednesday said the criminal investigation of the incident is ongoing.

Platero, 32, from Houston, Texas, is being held in pretrial confinement in Kuwait. He will be tried by a military court. He was assigned to Camp Ramadi, in western Iraq, with the 3rd Infantry Division based out of Fort Stewart, Georgia.

US soldier 'killed fellow troops'