Twin bomb blasts claimed 54 lives and wounded 130 in a Baghdad shopping center today, BBC News reports. Two roadside bombs timed to detonate within minutes of each other exploded in a shopping center in Karada district, leaving survivors holding body parts and searching for loved ones. Violence in Iraq has seen an upswing this month after a six-month decline generally attributed to the troop surge.
The blasts came on a day which was to see 2,000 US troops withdraw from the city, reports Reuters. Those soldiers will still return to the US, said a military spokesman, but "plans are fluid. (The military's intent) is not to give back any part of the city that our soldiers have paid a high price for," without lasting security gains.