In central Kirkuk, armed men shot dead two contractors tasked with building access lanes and wounded another two workers.

The assailants opened fire on the men while they were working next to the main highway that runs through Kirkuk from Baghdad before fleeing, Jassim said.

Another three people were wounded and a house partly damaged when mortar rounds exploded in Kirkuk's Nasir neighbourhood, Anwar Qadir, a police colonel, said.

Further south, in the city of Samarra, a Sunni prayer leader and member of the Iraqi Islamic Party, Yunis Wuhaib, was killed outside his home in the southern Sikak neighbourhood, Hashim Ahmed, a police captain, said.