Middle East

Deadly Iraq bomb attack hits Balad cafe

Map showing the town of Balad in Iraq

A suicide bomb at a cafe in central Iraq has killed at least 16 people and wounded another 35, officials say.

The blast happened in Balad, a largely Shia Muslim town about 80km (50 miles) north of the capital Baghdad.

In a separate attack a bomb exploded near a football field in Muqdadiyah, also north of Baghdad, killing four people and wounding 14, officials said.

There have been a number of attacks on Iraqi cafes in recent weeks, during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

More than 60 people alone were killed during celebrations for Eid al-Fitr, marking the end of Ramadan, earlier this week.

Most of the casualties were in Baghdad, which was hit by apparently co-ordinated car bombings near markets, cafes and restaurants.

This Ramadan in Iraq is thought to have been one of the deadliest in years, with more than 670 people killed. Many were targeted as they sat in cafes after breaking their daytime fast.

Most of the violence in the past six months has involved Sunni Islamist militant groups targeting Shia Muslim districts, although both Shia and Sunni areas were hit on Saturday.

More than 4,000 people have died in such attacks this year. A further 9,865 have been injured, with Baghdad province the worst hit.