Baghdad death toll rises to 54

Thursday 06 March 2008 22.19
Baghdad - At least 54 killed in double bombing
Baghdad - At least 54 killed in double bombing

At least 54 people were killed and 123 wounded in a double bomb attack in central Baghdad.

The twin attack, comprising a roadside bombing followed by a suicide attack, happened in Al-Atar Street in central Baghdad's Karada neighbourhood.

The bombings come after Iraq witnessed a sharp rise in the number of people killed in violence, following a six-month period in which the death toll fell.

In February, the number of Iraqis killed rose by 33% over the previous month, reversing a six-month trend of fewer casualties.

The drop in the violence during the six months to January was attributed to a surge of an extra 30,000 US troops in Iraq, the formation by Sunni leaders of anti-Qaeda fronts, and Shiite cleric  Moqtada al-Sadr's freezing of the activities of his Mahdi Army militia.

Today's bombings are the worst since 100 people were killed in two bombings of Baghdad bird markets on 1 February.