At least 16 people were killed and 41 wounded on Monday (August 12) in a suicide bomb attack on a crowded cafe in Balad, part of the worst wave of violence in Iraq in around five years.

Local residents could be seen clearing damage on site of the attack as security forces inspected the extent of damage wrought on the cafe and surrounding areas.

In a separate attack near the city of Mosul, north of Baghdad, gunmen intercepted a car carrying three soldiers who were on their way to join their unit and shot them dead, police said.

It was not immediately clear who was behind Monday's violence, although suspicion is likely to fall on the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), formed earlier this year through a merger of al Qaeda's affiliates in Syria and Iraq.

The blasts underlined a shift in tactics by suspected Islamist militants, who are increasingly targeting not only military checkpoints and marketplaces, but also cafes and recreational areas used by families and children.

The latest bloodshed came as al Qaeda claimed responsibility for weekend bombings across Iraq which killed dozens of people during Eid al-Fitr, the festive end to the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, heightening fears of even wider sectarian slaughter.

Presented by Adam Justice

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