Attacks in two towns surrounding the Iraqi capital Baghdad have killed six people, officials said.

A bomb in a market in Abu Ghraib, west of Baghdad, killed three people and wounded at least 10 others on Saturday morning.

Also in nearby Garma, which is near Fallujah, gunmen opened fire on a group of policemen and killed three of them before fleeing, security and medical officials said.

The attacks are the latest in spiralling violence that has left more than 420 dead this month and sparked fears of renewed sectarian war.

The surge in unrest comes as Iraq grapples with a prolonged political deadlock and months of protests by the Sunni Arab community alleging discrimination at the hands of the Shia-led authorities.

Analysts warn that the political standoff may persist until general elections due next year.

Another bombing at a vehicle repair garage in Taji, north of the capital, wounded at least five people.

Three anti-al-Qaeda fighters were also wounded by a blast in Sharqat, north of Baghdad, a day after a series of attacks targeting the fighters killed at least eight of them.

The latest attacks pushed the overall nationwide death toll for June to 424, the third successive month the figure has topped 400, according to an AFP news agency tally based on reports from security and medical officials.

April and May saw more than 1,000 people killed in all.

However, figures compiled by the United Nations are higher still, pegging the death toll for April and May at more than 1,750.

Iraq has seen a rise in violence since the beginning of the year, coinciding with rallies among the Sunni Arab minority against what demonstrators see as discrimination and wrongful targeting at the hands of the authorities.

Source: AFP