Blasts northeast of Baghdad kill 9 Iraqis

Twin explosions ripped through a crowded cafe northeast of Baghdad, killing nine people and wounding 21, Iraqi officials said Friday.

The attack late Thursday in the village of Garma, near the city of Baqouba in Diyala province, came a week after a series of blasts killed dozens in the capital and across the country.

An interior ministry official and a local police officer said a suicide car bomber set off the first explosion outside the packed cafe. A few minutes later, another bomb went off inside the cafe, they said.

Iraqis often go out on Thursday evenings, which mark the start of the Muslim weekend that falls on Friday-Saturday, flocking to cafes, restaurants and parks.

A medic at the Baqouba general hospital confirmed the toll. Baqouba, the provincial capital of Diyala, is 60 kilometers (35 miles) northeast of Baghdad. All officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media.

Although the level of violence in Iraq is nowhere near where it was five years ago, when the country almost descended into civil war, deadly attacks are still common.