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Last Updated: Friday, 7 March 2008, 08:04 GMT
Dozens killed in Baghdad attacks
People cleaning streets after Karada bomb 7/3/08
The morning after the attack the streets were still awash with blood
At least 54 people have been killed by two bomb attacks in the Karada shopping area in the centre of the Iraqi capital Baghdad, security officials say.

The blasts left another 130 people injured, the officials said.

A witness at the scene described people holding body parts and a woman crying as rescuers searched for her sons.

The BBC's Hugh Sykes in Baghdad said the second bomb targeted crowds gathered at the site of the first, causing the high death toll.

He says there are no obvious military targets in the area, and local residents were out shopping ahead of the Iraqi weekend in fine spring weather when the bombs exploded.

Teenagers

A roadside bomb exploded first in the predominantly Shia area, followed a few minutes later by a second blast caused by a suicide bomber, police said.

Baghdad map

Many of the victims were teenagers and young adults.

Hassan Abdullah, 25, told AP he was standing near the clothing shop he owns when the first explosion went off about 150 metres away.

He was walking towards the scene when the second explosion struck.

"I saw a leg and a hand falling near me as I was walking. The whole place was a mess," he said.

"Wounded people were crying for help and people started to run away."

Our correspondent says attacks like this used to occur almost daily but have become much less common in recent months.

However, Iraqi government figures this week showed that the number of Iraqi civilians killed in February was a third higher than in January.

The figures reversed the six-month-long trend of falling death tolls attributed to a surge in US troop numbers, the formation of anti-al-Qaeda militias by Sunni Arab tribes and a freeze in activities of the Mehdi Army militia loyal to radical Shia cleric Moqtada Sadr.

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