Kirkuk: A suicide bomber blew himself up at the entrance to an army recruitment centre in north Iraq Wednesday, killing six would-be soldiers, the latest in a year-long surge of nationwide bloodshed.

The morning attack at the recruitment centre in Riyadh, a mostly-Sunni town in ethnically-mixed Kirkuk province, injured 14 other recruits, according to army Major General Mohammad Khalaf Al Dulaimi.

Dr. Mohammad Al Jabouri at the main hospital in nearby Hawijah confirmed the toll.

The attack comes amid a surge in violence, Iraq’s worst since it emerged from a brutal sectarian war that left tens of thousands dead in 2008, with just weeks to go before parliamentary elections.

The unrest has been principally driven by anger in the disaffected Sunni Arab minority, which alleges it is mistreated by the Shiite-led government and security forces, and by the civil war in neighbouring Syria.

More than 2,200 people have been killed so far this year, according to an AFP tally based on reports from security and medical officials.

Analysts and diplomats have urged the authorities to reach out to the Sunni community in a bid to undercut support for militancy, but political leaders have been loath to compromise with the elections looming.