BAGHDAD — A car bomb blast tore through a cafe packed with young men watching a soccer match Tuesday in Baghdad, killing at least 16 people, officials said.
Nobody claimed responsibility for the attack, which struck a Shiite enclave in the mainly Sunni neighborhood of Dora, but it bore the hallmarks of al-Qaida's chapter in Iraq. Al-Qaida operatives have vowed revenge for the killing of Osama bin Laden.
Iraqi security officials said Monday that they were increasing security amid fears that insurgents would try to strike immediately as a way to show they are still a potent force.
Most of the dead and wounded were young people, police and hospital officials said. A vendor selling food near the cafe also was among the dead. The officials said 37 people were wounded.
Many Iraqis were quick to blame the terror network.
"This is the cowardly reaction of al-Qaida after the killing of the big terrorist bin Laden. They intend to do this against such gatherings in Shiite areas," said Jasim Hashim, a 20-year-old student who lives about 200 yards from where the bomb went off.
Violence in Iraq has decreased dramatically since the height of the insurgency, when groups such as al-Qaida in Iraq carried out car bombings, kidnappings and shootings daily. But the terror groups still have the ability to wage violent attacks as the United States prepares to withdraw all of its forces by the end of this year.