FALLULJAH, Iraq (AP) _ U.S. soldiers mistakenly killed 11 Iraqi police officers Friday as they chased a car full of highway bandits through an American checkpoint in a small town west of Fallujah, witnesses said.

The U.S. military in Baghdad had no information on the incident.

There were other unconfirmed reports of violence in the region Friday after a message carrying the name of Saddam Hussein appeared on at least one building in Fallujah. The message praised the people of the city for their resistance to the American occupation and named it capital of al-Anbar province. The nearby city of Ramadi, west of Fallujah, is the capital of the Sunni dominated al-Anbar province.

Fallujah police were chasing a white BMW without license plates that they identified as one used by highway bandits on the road connecting Baghdad with the Jordanian border. The officers chasing the four men in the BMW were in pickup trucks.

U.S. Army troops manning a checkpoint on a road leading to the resort village of Saddamiyat al-fallujah, formerly used by senior officials of the Saddam regime, opened fire on the BMW and the trucks when they did not stop.

Witnesses said 11 police officers in trucks and all four men in the car were killed in the hail of fire.