Iraq violence kills nine

Attacks in Iraq killed nine people and wounded 19 on Wednesday, officials said, as the country witnesses its deadliest violence since 2008.

Gunmen killed five people and wounded eight in two attacks in Baghdad province, while two bombings in Kirkuk province, north of the capital, wounded five soldiers and a policeman.

And gunmen armed with automatic weapons shot dead two people near Baquba, north of Baghdad, in an area that has been hit by frequent attacks in recent weeks.

A car bomb also wounded five people south of Tikrit.

With the latest violence, more than 850 people have been killed in July, and more than 3,100 since the beginning of the year, according to AFP figures based on security and medical sources.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has called on Iraqi political leaders to bring the country "back from the brink," while the interior ministry has warned of civil war.

Iraq has faced years of attacks by militants, but analysts say widespread discontent among the Sunni Arab minority, which the government has failed to address, has fuelled the spike in violence this year.

Recent attacks include brazen assaults on two Iraqi prisons in which dozens of people died, and over 500 inmates, among them senior Al-Qaeda members, escaped.