Last updated: 8 March, 2014

Iraq attacks kill nine, including parliament candidate

Attacks across Iraq killed 13 people on Saturday, including a parliamentary candidate and four children, officers and medical sources said, as the country suffers its worst violence in years.

Iraq has been hit by a year-long surge in bloodshed that has reached levels not seen since 2008, driven principally by widespread discontent among its Sunni Arab minority and by the civil war in neighbouring Syria.

In Sharqat, north of Baghdad, gunmen shot dead Mohammed Hussein Hamid, who was standing in parliamentary elections scheduled for next month on Deputy Prime Minister Saleh al-Mutlak’s list.

Hamid was the second parliamentary candidate to be killed this year, after gunmen murdered Hamza al-Shammari last month.

Election candidates have been targeted in the past, with nearly 20 killed ahead of April 2013 provincial council elections.

In Samarra, also north of Baghdad, a shooting at a checkpoint killed two secondary school students and a policeman, while a roadside bomb blast in a village south of Sharqat killed two children.

Gunmen attacked a checkpoint in Sharqat, killing a police major and a policeman, while a roadside bomb in Khales killed army Lieutenant Colonel Abbas al-Rubaie and another soldier.

Iraqi soldiers and police are frequently targeted in bombings and shootings by militants opposed to the government.

In Baghdad, a car bomb exploded near a market in the Qahira area, killing at least two people and wounding four.

And a shooting killed one person in the northern city of Mosul, one of the most dangerous parts of the country.

Violence has killed at least 110 people so far this month, and more than 1,800 since the beginning of the year, according to AFP figures based on security and medical sources.