Attacks in Baghdad and north of the capital killed nine people on Friday, including a supporter of powerful cleric Moqtada al-Sadr who was standing in April’s parliamentary election.

The murder of Hamza al-Shammari, the first of an election candidate, comes amid a protracted surge in bloodshed with near-daily attacks nationwide and security forces battling anti-government fighters in Anbar province.

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