Blast in popular Baghdad coffee shop kills at least 27
April 19, 2013 -- Updated 1407 GMT (2207 HKT)
Mourners give their condolences to family members of the victims who were killed in the explosion in Al- Amirya.
- NEW: Four of at least 27 people killed are children, police say
- NEW: The building targeted in western Baghdad had an ice cream shop and medical offices
- A bomb was hidden in a plastic bag and detonated around 10 p.m. local time
- There have been several attacks ahead of Saturday's provincial elections
Baghdad (CNN) -- A bomb exploded on Thursday night in a popular coffee shop in western Baghdad, killing at least 27 people and wounding 51 others, city police officials said.
The bomb was hidden in a plastic bag and then put in a cafe in the Iraqi capital's al-Amriya neighborhood, where it detonated around 10 p.m. (3 p.m. ET), according to police.
They estimated the device contained about two kilograms of highly explosive material.
The explosion ripped through the three-story building, which also includes an ice cream parlor on the first floor and medical offices on the second floor. The coffee shop was on the third floor.
Deadly wave of bombings across Iraq
Most of those killed and hurt were young men, though four children were among the dead, police said.
Mostly Sunni Muslims live in the neighborhood, which is surrounded by walls except for one checkpoint staffed by Iraqi soldiers.
The violence follows a spate of attacks preceding the country's provincial elections, set for Saturday.
On Wednesday, three people died and 16 were wounded in four explosions in and around Baghdad, according to police.
There is concern that the security situation could affect the outcome of the vote, especially if Iraqis don't participate because of fears that polling stations may come under attack.
U.N. official Martin Kobler appealed Thursday for security forces to be on "heightened alert" so that citizens can vote "in a safe environment without fear of violence."
In the same statement, Kobler -- the special representative in Iraq for the U.N. secretary-general -- stressed that Iraqi leaders must "collectively endure a transparent and peaceful election, free of intimidation or political interference."
And he urged Iraqis to vote, casting it as their patriotic duty.
"I am calling on all women and men to cast their ballots for a better future for them and their children," Kobler said. "My appeal goes particularly to young Iraqis, because you are the future of this country."
CNN's Mohammed Tawfeeq reported from Baghdad and Greg Botelho wrote this story from Atlanta.
Today's five most popular stories
Part of complete coverage on
December 16, 2014 -- Updated 2245 GMT (0645 HKT)
Pakistan Taliban say the school attack was revenge for the killing of children in a military offensive -- but they are being pressed by defections to ISIS.
A group that claims it hacked Sony Pictures has posted a public threat against moviegoers who see Sony's "The Interview."
December 18, 2014 -- Updated 0243 GMT (1043 HKT)
The gunman behind the deadly siege in Sydney this week was not on a security watch list, and Australia's Prime Minister wants to know why.
December 18, 2014 -- Updated 0948 GMT (1748 HKT)
Bestselling author Marjorie Liu had set her sights on being a lawyer, but realized it wasn't what she wanted to do for the rest of her life.
December 16, 2014 -- Updated 2027 GMT (0427 HKT)
CNN's Matthew Chance looks into an HRW report saying Russia has "legalized discrimination against LGBT people."
December 16, 2014 -- Updated 0212 GMT (1012 HKT)
The Sydney siege has brought home some troubling truths to Australians. They are not immune to what are often called "lone-wolf" terror attacks.
December 16, 2014 -- Updated 0012 GMT (0812 HKT)
A social media campaign condemning Islamophobia under the hashtag #illridewithyou has taken off after Sydney hostage siege.
Bill Cosby has kept quiet as sexual assault allegations mounted against him, but his wife, Camille, finally spoke out in defense of her husband.
December 15, 2014 -- Updated 1144 GMT (1944 HKT)
China-bound AirAsia flight turns back to Bangkok after passenger throws water over crew member.
December 15, 2014 -- Updated 1026 GMT (1826 HKT)
It takes Nepalese eye doctor, Sanduk Ruit about five minutes to change someone's life.
December 16, 2014 -- Updated 1054 GMT (1854 HKT)
This epic journey crosses 13,000 kilometers, eight countries over 21 days. Find out where.
December 18, 2014 -- Updated 1416 GMT (2216 HKT)
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.