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17 killed in Mogadishu fighting

world Updated: Jun 03, 2011 15:13 IST

IANS
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At least 17 people were killed and many others injured in fierce battles between Somali government forces and Islamist insurgents Thursday over control of the key position in Mogadishu city, Xinhua quoted medical sources as saying.

The government forces are being backed by African Union peacekeepers.

"Seventeen people died many of them civilians while 46 others were injured by shrapnel and bullets in areas far from where the fighting was taking place," Ali Muse, head of the local emergency service, told Xinhua.

The casualties were civilians, hit by stray shells and bullets in areas outside the battle fronts in the south of Somali capital, medical sources said.

Following fierce battles with Islamist rebels, forces of the Somali government backed by African Union Mission for Somalia (AMISOM) took over key positions around the northwestern part of the main Mogadishu market.

The strategic market is seen as an important hideout for the insurgents and a source of revenue to fund their attacks against the internationally recognised Somali government and the UN-back AU peacekeeping mission supporting it.