A group of Islamic State terrorists armed with AK-47s attacked the headquarters of a Real Madrid supporters club - because 'they don't like football'.
Three gunmen opened fire around midnight at the Al Furat cafe in Balad, 50 miles north of the Iraqi capital Baghdad. It is believed at least 14 people - mainly Real Madrid fans but also cafe staff and other customers - were killed and a further 28 people injured.
Islamic State later claimed responsibility, while gruesome pictures and video have emerged illustrating the aftermath of the bloodbath. Bullet holes can be seen littering a room full of armchairs with an upturned chair in the centre - and blood smeared all over the floor with a trail leading out of what appears to be a main meeting room. Real Madrid offered their 'profound condolences' and said their players would wear black armbands tomorrow.
The fan group, which has 4191 members, meet for coffee and to watch old Real Madrid games when there isn't live football on. President of the supporters club Ziad Subhan said: "A group of Islamic terrorists, from ISIS, came into the café, armed with AK-47s, shooting at random at everyone who was inside". Asked about the motives for the attack, AS reports the president said: "They don't like football, they think it's anti-Muslim. "They just carry out attacks like this. This is a terrible tragedy".
The attackers fled and hours later one of them set off his explosive vest at a nearby vegetable market after police cornered him in a disused building.
A Real Madrid club statement said: "Real Madrid profoundly laments the terrible attack today in Iraq which has ended the life of 16 members of a Madrid fan club and that injured more than 20.
“The club expresses its total sadness and offers its thoughts and condolences to the families and friends of the victims. “Real Madrid extends its solidarity to the people of Iraq, that suffers the injustice of extremist violence.
“The Real Madrid players will wear a symbolic black armband as a sign of mourning and respect, because football and sports will always be places of meeting, harmony and peace which no savage terrorism will overcome. “Madrid fans around the world weep today for its fans, who will never be forgotten.”
The official Twitter account for La Liga posted on Twitter that it was "thinking of the victims and families". Supporters clubs in the Middle East said they were united in grief throughout the 'commonwealth of Real Madrid fans'.
An association of Chelsea fans in Iraq also condemned the act of terrorism - and fans of the club worldwide reacted with horror and shock at the news on social media
The attack was said be in honour of Abdel Rahman Mustafa al-Qaduli, the ISIS second-in-command who was killed in a coalition strike in March.