Iraq bombings kill six

An Iraqi policeman and civilian inspect the site of a car bomb attack in Baghdad's district of Sadr City, on April 16, 2013. Bombings in central Iraq have killed six people and wounded 22, a day after a string of countrywide attacks left 50 people dead in a wave of violence ahead of the first elections since US troops withdrew.

Bombings in central Iraq killed six people and wounded 22 on Tuesday, a day after a string of countrywide attacks left 50 people dead in a wave of violence ahead of the first elections since US troops withdrew.

A car bomb killed four people and wounded 15 in Aziziyah, while a roadside bomb killed a soldier and wounded two near Mussayib, both south of the Iraqi capital, security and medical officials said.

North of Baghdad, a car bomb killed a civilian and wounded two others as well as three police officials in Tarmiyah, they said.

The spate of bombings comes a day after more than 30 attacks across Iraq killed 50 people and wounded almost 300, raising further questions about the credibility of April 20 provincial elections that are seen as a key test of Iraq's stability and its security forces' capabilities.

A total of 14 election hopefuls have already been murdered and just 12 of the country's 18 provinces will be taking part in the vote.

Soldiers and policemen cast their ballots for the provincial elections on Saturday, a week ahead of the main vote, the country's first since March 2010 parliamentary polls.

It is also the first election since US troops withdrew from Iraq in December 2011.

The election comes amid a long-running crisis between Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki and several of his erstwhile government partners, which officials and diplomats say insurgent groups exploit by using the political differences to enhance their room for manoeuvre on the ground.

More than 8,000 candidates are standing in the elections, with 378 seats on provincial councils up for grabs. An estimated 16.2 million Iraqis are eligible to vote.