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Heavy fighting in Mogadishu kills 14

Fierce clashes killed at least 14 people in Mogadishu, as Islamist insurgents marred newly-elected President Sharif Sheikh Hassan’s first days in the Somali capital.
AFP | By HT Correspondent, Mogadishu
UPDATED ON FEB 24, 2009 11:39 PM IST

Fierce clashes on Tuesday killed at least 14 people in Mogadishu, as Islamist insurgents marred newly-elected President Sharif Sheikh Hassan’s first days in the Somali capital.

The fighting was the worst in weeks and came two days after a suspected suicide bombing against African Union forces left 11 dead, in the deadliest such attack since the peacekeepers were deployed two years ago.

Heavily armed militia ambushed government troops in Mogadishu’s southern Taleh district, sparking a fierce exchanges in which at least 50 civilians were also wounded, witnesses said.

Two people died of their wounds in Mogadishu’s main Medina hospital, nurse Ahmed Ali told AFP, while four other civilians were killed when mortar shells struck their homes.

“More than 50 people injured in the clashes have been brought to the hospital and two of them have died so far,” Ali said.

Abdiaziz Hassan, a witness, said: “Four civilians from a house very close to mine were killed. Three of them were killed by a mortar shell explosion while the other was caught in the crossfire.”

Earlier, residents said five other people were killed in similar circumstances in different neighbourhoods in southern Mogadishu.

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