Iraqi troops have rescued eight members of a group of 11 tribal leaders abducted in Baghdad on Sunday, the Iraqi defence ministry has said.
Spokesman Maj Gen Mohammed al-Askari said the sheikhs were freed in a raid on a house following a tip off.
The troops are searching for the remaining members of the group but reports said one had been found dead.
Meanwhile, Iraqi police denied earlier reports that 20 headless bodies had been found dumped near Baquba.
The Sunni and Shia sheikhs rescued on Monday were seized while on their way home to Diyala province after meeting government officials about efforts against al-Qaeda in Iraq.
The US military in Iraq on Monday accused an alleged rogue commander from a Shia militia of being behind the kidnappings.
The Americans said the man - whom they named as Arkan Hasnawi - had disobeyed a ceasefire ordered by his militia, the Mehdi Army.
"Arkan Hasnawi and his gang of criminals continue to intimidate and terrorise innocent Iraqi citizens, taking actions that mirror the tactics used by al-Qaeda in Iraq," the military said in a statement, quoted by Reuters news agency.