December 19, 2013
Baghdad cafe bombing kills at least 38
A suicide bomber driving a minibus blew himself up outside a cafe in a mainly Shi'ite Muslim district of the Iraqi capital, killing at least 38 people, police and medics said.
At least 12 people were killed in a spate of suicide bomb attacks on security personnel and government buildings earlier today, police said.
Violence in Iraq, which had eased after reaching a climax in 2006-07, is now rising again, with more than 7,000 civilians killed this year, according to monitoring group Iraq Body Count.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for any of the attacks, but Shi'ites are viewed as apostates by Sunni Islamist militants whose insurgency has revived this year.
The explosion took place in Baghdad's Amil neighborhood.
"The cafe was full of people watching a soccer game and others smoking shisha (water pipe) when a minibus drove over the pavement and exploded right at the entrance to the cafe," said Ali Mahdi, a policeman whose patrol was stationed nearby.
"At first people in the cafe thought it was a drunk driver, until the blast tore them apart, covering the ground with chunks of human flesh and severed limbs."
Sectarian tensions in Iraq and the wider Middle East have been exacerbated by the Syrian civil war, which has drawn Sunnis and Shi'ites from across the region and beyond into battle.