At least 13 dead in Iraq coffee shop mass shooting

At-least-13-dead-in-Iraq-coffee-shop-mass-shooting.   BALAD, Iraq,  Gunmen killed at least 13 people and injured 23 others in a bloody attack on a cafe in the northern Iraqi province of Saladin.

The Baghdad area has been hit by a fresh wave of suicide bombings in recent days. Poto by Ali Jasim/UPI | License Photo














The three shooters stormed the packed coffee shop in the mainly Shiite town of Balad and opened fire, police officer Muhsin al-Ubaidi told the Turkish state-run Anadolu news agency.

Once police arrived at the scene, two of the attackers detonated suicide vests.

Balad, which is about 50 miles north of Baghdad. is a heavily militarized zone. The attackers would have had to pass through three police checkpoints before reaching their target, police sources told Reuters.

The latest incident follows two days of suicide bombings in the Baghdad area which left at least 94 people dead. The Islamic State has claimed responsibility.

Despite the atrocities, Major General Gary Volesky, the top U.S. ground forces commander in Iraq, stated earlier this week that IS is “getting weaker and weaker” in Iraq.

Speaking at the Defense Department outside Washington, he said that Iraqi government forces are making “great progress” in reclaiming land lost to the insurgents.

In recent weeks, U.S. officials have said that jihadists have lost 40 per cent of the land they took in Iraq and Syria.

Volesky added that Iraqi forces are now positioned some 20 miles from Mosul, which Islamic State fighters have held for two years.

By Martin Smith