Seven Iraqis escaped Saturday from a makeshift prison north of Baghdad and made their way to a US base in Khan Bani Saad, the US military said.
Earlier Saturday, US attack helicopters patrolling the area, about 20 kilometers (12 miles) north of the capital, fired on three armed men, killing all of them, the military said in a statement.
The seven escapees identified the dead as their captors and led troops to the makeshift prison.
There, the soldiers found eight bodies believed to include Sunnis and Shiites, each with gunshot wounds to the head, the statement said.
The seven escapees were handed over to Iraqi police.