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26 killed in Baghdad cafe bombing

BAGHDAD -- A suicide bomber detonated explosives at a Baghdad cafe crowded with young people late yesterday, killing at least 26 and wounding dozens ahead of provincial elections scheduled on the weekend.

The rare evening attack, which came at the start of the local weekend, brought to 30 the number of people killed across the country yesterday.

The cafe bomber struck about 9:30 p.m. Police said two children and a woman passing by were among the dead. More than 50 people were wounded.

The packed cafe is on the third floor of a building in the predominantly Sunni neighborhood of Amiriyah. Police said the cafe was packed with young people enjoying water pipes and playing pool.

Earlier in the day, a car bomb struck an army convoy in Mosul, 225 miles northwest of Baghdad, killing three soldiers and wounding five others.

Hours later, a policeman was killed and three others were wounded when gunmen attacked a security checkpoint in western Baghdad, police said.

Violence has been on the rise ahead of Saturday's elections for local officials in several provinces across the country, including the capital, Baghdad. -- AP

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