The Iraqi government says five detained U.S. contractors will be freed due to insufficient evidence against them.

Government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh says an investigative judge has ordered the release of the five men detained by Iraqi security forces last week.

He told The Associated Press Wednesday they will be released in a matter of hours.

The contractors had been detained in connection with an investigation into the stabbing death of another American contractor, Jim Kitterman. But there have been conflicting accounts about the specific allegations against them.

The case has been seen as the first test of a provision in the U.S.-Iraqi security pact that lifts the immunity enjoyed by American contractors for most of the 6-year-old war.