Suicide bomber kills eight at Iraq cafe

A suicide bomber killed eight people in a cafe north of Baghdad on Monday, police said, a day after an Al-Qaeda front group claimed attacks that killed dozens.

Militants have carried out a number of attacks on cafes in recent weeks, especially during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, when many Iraqis went to cafes after breaking their daytime fast.

This Ramadan, which ended last week, was one of the deadliest for Iraq in years, with more than 800 people killed in attacks.

The bomber struck a cafe in the town of Balad at around 6:30 pm (1530 GMT), also wounding 24 people, police and a doctor said.

The deadly blast came a day after Al-Qaeda front group the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant claimed attacks that killed more than 70 people on Saturday.

"The Islamic State mobilised... in Baghdad and the southern states and others to convey a quick message of deterrence on the third day of Eid al-Fitr," the group said, referring to the holiday marking the end of Ramadan.

"They (Shiites) will not dream of security during night or day, during Eid or other" days, it said.

Violence in Iraq has increased markedly this year, with analysts saying the upsurge is the result of anger among the Sunni Arab minority that the Shiite-led government has failed to address, despite months of protests.