A series of attacks near Baghdad and north of the capital killed four people on Wednesday, the latest in an apparent spike in violence just weeks ahead of Iraq's first elections in three years.

Separate bombings south of Baghdad -- one inside a restaurant and the other a car bombing near a police checkpoint -- killed two people and left 26 others wounded, officials said.

They said three gun and bomb attacks in restive cities north of the capital killed two more people and wounded two others.

The attacks come ahead of provincial elections scheduled for April 20, due to be held in 12 of Iraq's 18 provinces, the country's first polls since a parliamentary vote in March 2010.

But questiones have been raised over the credibility of those polls as elections have been postponed in two provinces roiled by months of protests, and at least a dozen candidates have been killed, according to an AFP tally.

Though markedly lower than its peak in 2006 and 2007, levels of violence remain high in Iraq -- at least 240 people have been killed in attacks this month, already more than in February.