Militants seized a village in north Iraq on Friday as attacks nationwide killed 27 people, including at least 10 policemen, amid a surge in bloodshed ahead of parliamentary elections.

The latest unrest comes barely a week before campaigning begins for the April 30 election due to take place as Iraq grapples with its worst protracted bloodletting since a brutal 2006-07 Sunni-Shiite sectarian war in which tens of thousands of people were killed.

The unrest has been primarily driven by anger among the minority Sunni Arab community, which alleges discrimination at the hands of the Shiite-led government and security forces, as well as by the civil war in neighbouring Syria.