7 killed in cafe attack in eastern Iraq

BAQUBA, Iraq, Feb. 8 (Xinhua) -- A group of gunmen on Thursday attacked a busy cafe in Iraq's eastern province of Diyala, killing seven people, a local official said.

The attack occurred in the night when the gunmen opened fire on a popular cafe near the ethnically-mixed town of Khanaqin near the border with Iran, Ahmed al-Zarkoushi, the mayor of the nearby town of Saadiyah, told Xinhua.

Iraqi security forces cordoned off the scene and searched for the attackers, Zarkoushi said.

No group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack, but the Islamic State (IS) militant group, in most cases, is responsible for deadly attacks targeting crowded areas, including markets, cafes and mosques across Iraq.

Diyala, like most of the other Iraqi provinces, has been suffering from sectarian tensions and reprisal killings between Sunni and Shiite communities, particularly after the U.S.-led invasion in 2003 that killed and wounded dozens of thousands of Iraqis.

In addition, Khanaqin is part of the disputed areas claimed by both Baghdad and the semi-autonomous region of Kurdistan.

[ Editor: meng ]


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