ISIL attacks in northern Iraq kill 16

ISIL attacks in northern Iraq kill 16

TIKRIT – Reuters
ISIL attacks in northern Iraq kill 16

Municipality workers clean up debris a day after a car bomb explosion in Baghdad, Iraq, Thursday, May 12, 2016 - AP photo

Shooting and bomb attacks claimed by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) killed at least 16 people in northern Iraq on May 13, days after ISIL’s deadliest blasts so far this year in the capital stirred public criticism of government security measures. 

Three gunmen opened fire with machine guns around midnight at a cafe in the predominately Shiite Muslim town of Balad where young men had gathered to start the weekend, police and hospital sources said. At least 12 were killed and 25 wounded. 

The assailants fled and hours later one of them set off his explosive vest at a nearby vegetable market after police and Shiite militia members cornered him in a disused building and exchanged gunfire, security sources said. Four were killed and two critically wounded, medical sources added. 

ISIL said in a statement distributed online by supporters that three suicide attackers targeting Shiite militiamen had detonated their explosives, though security sources said they had only identified one bomber. 
A Reuters witness saw the scorched body of a suspected assailant hanging upside down from a post outside the cafe on the morning of May 13. 

Residents said they had seized the man from a nearby house where he had fled following the attack. They said they had burned him alive after he confessed. An intelligence official confirmed this account. 

ISIL nearly overran Balad, 80 kilometers north of Baghdad, in 2014 and maintains a frontline around 40 km away. 

The May 13 attackers had passed three police checkpoints before reaching their target, said police sources who declined to be identified as they were not authorized to speak to the media. 

Security forces were deployed throughout the town, fearing more attacks. 

The intelligence official said fighters from the powerful Iranian-backed Badr Organization raided a nearby house and detained 13 members of a Sunni family. There were reports of gunfire in an adjacent orchard. 

Iraqi authorities are facing scrutiny over security breaches that allowed suicide attackers to set off three bombs on May 11 in Baghdad, killing at least 80 people.