17 killed in Somalia as Islamists battle Govt | world | Hindustan Times
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17 killed in Somalia as Islamists battle Govt

world Updated: Jun 18, 2009 18:06 IST

Islamic insurgents and government forces pounded each other with mortar rounds in overnight battles in Somalia's capital, killing at least 17 people, witnesses said today.

The overnight fighting raises the death toll of yesterday's fighting to at least 34, making it the worst single day's fighting in the capital, Mogadishu, since mid-May.

Ali Muse, of one of Mogadishu's ambulance services, said they had delivered more than 100 wounded to hospitals, including children, women and elderly people.

Islamic insurgents have been trying to topple the weak, Western-backed government for more than two years. There was a surge of violence in May, during which almost 200 people were killed. The UN says the conflict has displaced more than 122,000 people.

As the two sides battled for control of a police station in northern Mogadishu, some of the heavy shelling hit people emerging from yesterday evening prayers at a mosque, said resident Mohamud Daban Turyare.

Another resident, Halima Gedi, described the scene as "horrific", saying walls nearby were bloodstained.