Fierce clashes have left at least 29 people dead and some 200 wounded as Somali government forces tried to drive out Islamist insurgents from the capital Mogadishu, officials and witnesses said.
With President Sharif Sheikh Ahmed holed up in his compound with a handful of supporters, his embattled forces attacked insurgents in three positions they had lost in two weeks of fighting that have killed close to 150 people.
Military spokesman Farhan Mahdi Mohamed vowed they would fight until the insurgents are dislodged from the capital, but witnesses said they saw the troops beating a retreat as their rivals advanced.
Eight passengers were killed when a mortar shell struck a bus in southern Mogadishu on Friday.
A toll compiled by AFP from medical sources, security officials and witnesses put the number of killed in Thursday's clashes at 29, including a young local journalist who was caught in crossfire.
"We admitted 10 dead bodies in Deynile hospital, most of them were discovered from the areas of the fierce fighting by the voluntary ambulances late in the afternoon," medic Mohamed Ali told AFP.
At Mogadishu's Medina and Keysaney hospitals, medics said they received 117 wounded civilians, five of whom died of their wounds moments after their admission.