BAGHDAD, (Reuters) – Ten people were killed and 18 others wounded when two explosions struck a popular coffee shop in the restive Iraqi province of Diyala, security sources said on Thursday.
Diyala province, a fertile agricultural area, has long been one of the most volatile regions in Iraq, inhabited by a mix of Sunnis, Shi’ites and Kurds.
The attacks took place in a mainly Sunni village on the outskirts of Baquba, 65 km (40 miles) northeast of Baghdad, a policeman in the village and a source in Diyala operations command said.
The sources said the first explosion, set off by a suicide car bomber, killed 10 people and wounded 15 others. The policeman said a second bomb planted inside the coffee shop wounded three more people.
“We received 10 bodies and 18 wounded,” Abdul-Razaq Hussein, a doctor in Baquba hospital, told Reuters, adding that the toll was final.
Tensions between Shi’ites, Sunnis and Kurds in Iraq’s coalition government have been high since U.S. forces withdrew in December, raising fears of a return to the sectarian violence that almost drove the country to the edge of civil war a few years ago.
Although violence in Iraq has dropped sharply from the height of sectarian fighting in 2006-07, bombings and killings still occur on a daily basis.
Five civilians were killed and 27 others wounded earlier on Thursday when a roadside bomb and a car bomb exploded in Baghdad.
Last Thursday, more than 20 bombs hit cities and towns across Iraq, killing at least 36 people and wounding almost 150.