Dozens of gunmen storm Iraqi town in shooting spree
Over 100 armed men broke through security checkpoints and stormed into Balad shortly after midnight Thursday, opening fire into a crowded cafe and a nearby police station.
"The attack killed 13 people, including members of the security forces, and injured 25 others," a local source told The New Arab.
As police arrived at the scene, the gunmen fled the town leaving behind two suicide bombers who detonated their vests, the source added.
No group claimed responsibility for the assault on town in the Salah al-Din governorate, which is located 90 kilometres [56 miles] north of Baghdad and near a US military airbase.
The assault came on the heels of a two-day wave of bombings in Baghdad that killed nearly 100 people. The attacks were claimed by the Islamic State group.
The deadliest struck the sprawling Shia neighbourhood of Sadr City in northeast Baghdad on Wednesday, killing 63 people.
The IS bombings this week exposed lingering gaps in Baghdad's defences, which are manned by an array of security agencies and militias that do not always cooperate.
They also point to the resilience of the extremist IS group, which has increasingly resorted to bombings in civilian areas far from the front lines as it has lost some territory to Iraqi forces backed by US-led airstrikes.
On Thursday evening, hundreds took to the streets in Baghdad's Sadr City to demand government accountability for the security breaches.
Protesters carried signs calling for the interior minister to resign, while others called for the minister of defence and Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi to step down.
Agencies contributed to this report.