Attacks in predominantly Sunni Arab areas north and west of Baghdad on Sunday killed six people, all members of the security forces, the latest in a year-long surge in bloodshed.

Less than two months before parliamentary elections, Iraq is mired in its worst violence since 2008, when it was emerging from a period of brutal sectarian bloodletting that killed tens of thousands of people.

The spike has been driven by widespread discontent among the minority Sunni Arab community, which complains of being marginalised and unfairly targeted with heavy-handed security measures, and by the civil war in neighbouring Syria.