12 Die in suicide attack in Iraq

Baghdad, Aug 12 (EFE).- At least 12 people died Monday and 45 others were wounded in a suicide attack on a popular cafe in the city of Balad, 80 kilometers (50 miles) north of Baghdad, an official with the Iraqi police told Efe.

The suicide bomber detonated an explosives-packed belt he was wearing inside the cafe, which is located near a local police station.

Balad is a Shi'ite-majority city in the largely Sunni Muslim province of Salaheddin.

Last Saturday, at least 50 people died and 245 were wounded in a series of attacks around the country, responsibility for which was claimed in the past few hours by Islamic State of Iraq, an Al-Qaeda-linked group.

Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki on Sunday ordered the launching of a broad security operation in the western and northern regions of the country to find and capture terrorists.

The past few months have been the bloodiest in five years in Iraq with about 1,000 people dying in violent incidents in July alone.