The death toll in a suicide bomb attack on a Baghdad Café rose to 32, as five more bodies were recovered Friday in a street located behind the cafe.
A suicide bomber had blown himself up inside a popular Baghdad cafe, killing at least 27 people and injuring another 60 on April 18, two days ahead of the provincial elections scheduled to be held on April 20.
The death toll increased Friday as police discovered what they believe are the bodies of five more victims who were thrown out of the building during the explosion.
The blast that occurred late evening on Thursday has raised concerns over the credibility of the Saturdays’ elections being held for the first time after the withdrawal of the U.S. troops from the Middle East nation.
The blast ripped the Dubai Café frequented by the youngsters at the west Baghdad suburb of Amriyah and the dead included at least three children and a woman, the Associated Press news agency reported.
The cafe was in the third floor of a shopping complex in a predominantly Sunni neighborhood.
"It was a huge blast," a police official at the scene told Reuters. "Part of the building fell in and debris hit people shopping in the mall below." According to the local media reports, security workers had to struggle to pull out the bodies and the victims from the debris.
The violence underscored the concerns over the general elections as at least 16 election candidates have been killed in the run-up to the vote. The bomb attacks have increased in recent months as the insurgent groups have stepped up the suicide attacks in an attempt to escalate the confrontation between the Shia and Sunni groups.
The polls are seen as a key test of Iraq's stability and security, as the Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki’s fragile coalition government struggles to cope with rising infighting among the Shiite, Sunni and ethnic Kurd factions in his national unity government. No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attacks.