Dozens killed in Baghdad cafe explosion

Reports of up to 27 dead and dozens more injured in suicide attack on a Baghdad cafe.

    The attack occurred ahead of provincial elections scheduled for the weekend [File: Reuters]
    The attack occurred ahead of provincial elections scheduled for the weekend [File: Reuters]

    Up to 27 people are reported to have been killed and dozens more injured in a suicide bombing in a Baghdad cafe, a ministry of Interior source has told Al Jazeera.

    The source said that a suicide bomber walked into the popular Dubai Cafe crowded with young people late on Thursday and detonated explosives.

    The attack occurred ahead of provincial elections scheduled for the weekend.

    Al Jazeera's Jane Arraf, reporting from Baghdad, said that the small space in which the suicide bomber detonated meant the injuries were "absolutely horrific."

    She said that the Amariyah neighbourhood had been known as an al-Qaeda stronghold before locals turned against the group.

    Police said that three children and a woman who were passing by at the time of the blast were among the dead.

    The packed internet cafe is on the third floor of the Strawberry mini-mall in the predominantly Sunni neighbourhood of Amiriyah.

    An Islamic studies centre, affiliated with the Iraqi Islamic Party, part of the main Sunni political bloc, is located below the top-floor cafe.

    Arraf said witnesses reported the force of the blast sent shrapnel and glass flying into an ice cream shop and a pharmacy on the ground floor of the building, severely wounding women and children.

    Police said the cafe was full of young people enjoying water pipes and playing pool.

    Like other majority Sunni neighbourhoods in Baghdad, Amariyah has been under extremely tight security since anti-government protests started in Sunni provinces and communities in December.

    Iraqi officials have said they believe there are still al-Qaeda sleeper cells in the neighbourhood.


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Interactive: Take a tour through divided Jerusalem

    Interactive: Take a tour through divided Jerusalem

    Take a tour through East and West Jerusalem to see the difference in quality of life for Israelis and Palestinians.

    Stories from the sex trade

    Stories from the sex trade

    Dutch sex workers, pimps and johns share their stories.

    Inside the world of India's booming fertility industry

    Inside the world of India's booming fertility industry

    As the stigma associated with being childless persists, some elderly women in India risk it all to become mothers.