KIRKUK - Gunmen killed nine people, including seven members of the security forces, on Saturday in separate attacks on checkpoints in north Iraq, security and medical officials said. In the deadliest shooting, five members of the security forces died when gunmen opened fire on a checkpoint in the Turkmen town of Rashidiyah, northeast of the main northern city of Mosul, an army captain said, speaking on condition of anonymity. Two other security personnel were wounded, the officer said, without specifying how many of the dead were soldiers and policemen. Doctor Omar Danoon at Mosul hospital confirmed the toll.

Iraq's Turkish-speaking Turkmen community includes about 500,000 people living mostly in Mosul, Kirkuk and Tal Afar. They have been the target of a number of deadly attacks, blamed by local authorities on Al-Qaeda.

South of Mosul, meanwhile, four people were killed - two policemen and two civilians - when gunmen fired at a checkpoint in the village of Hammam al-Alil, provincial police Major General Mohammed al-Juburi said.

The latest violence comes amid a spike in attacks, with Iraq suffering a wave of unrest in June. At least 282 people were killed, according to an AFP tally, though government figures said 131 Iraqis died.

While violence in Iraq has declined dramatically since its peak in 2006-2007, attacks remain common across the country.