At least 15 people have been killed in deadly attacks that targeted Iraqi security forces on the second day of campaigning for the country’s upcoming general elections.
Six people were killed and more than a dozen others injured on Wednesday in a bomb explosion that ripped through the entrance of an army recruitment center in the northern province of Kirkuk.
Elsewhere in Kirkuk, bomb attacks on military personnel took the lives of six soldiers and left 14 others wounded.
Two policemen were also killed in separate attacks in the eastern city of Kut, southeast of the capital, and the main northern city of Mosul.
Another policeman was killed in a gunfire exchange with militants south of Baghdad.
Violence across Iraq is at its highest level since 2008, with al-Qaeda-linked militants regaining momentum in the country, especially in the western province of Anbar.
Experts say terrorist groups such as the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) are coming to Iraq from neighboring Syria and Saudi Arabia to undermine security in the country.
According to the United Nations, about 400,000 people have been displaced this year due to the ongoing fighting between ISIL militants and security forces in Anbar. The UN has also expressed “grave concern” about the presence of al-Qaeda-inspired militants there.
The upsurge in violence has fueled security concerns in the run-up to the parliamentary polls scheduled for April 30.
No single bloc is expected to win a majority of seats in the Council of Representatives, but Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s State of Law alliance is widely seen as the front-runner.