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Shelling kills at least 15 in Somalia

A tank from the African Union peacekeeping forces takes up a position last week in Mogadishu, Somalia's capital.
A tank from the African Union peacekeeping forces takes up a position last week in Mogadishu, Somalia's capital.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Sixty others wounded after heavy fighting in Somalia's capital, journalists say
  • Fighting comes after miliants tied to al Qaeda attacked areas held by Somali troops, peacekeepers
  • Somali officials downplay offensive, calling it "small and careless"
RELATED TOPICS
  • Somalia
  • Mogadishu
  • Al Qaeda
  • Terrorism

(CNN) -- At least 15 people have been killed and more wounded after a weekend of heavy fighting in Somalia's capital, journalists and a hospital spokeswoman said Monday.

Artillery shelling from an area controlled by the government into an insurgent stronghold killed at least 15 and wounded 60 others Sunday in northeastern Mogadishu, journalists said after surveying the aftermath.

More than 120 people have been admitted to a hospital with wounds related to fighting since Friday, said Duniyo Ali Mohamed, head of the medical department at Medina Hospital.

The fighting comes after a militant Islamist group associated with al Qaeda attacked areas controlled by government troops and peacekeepers Friday, leaving 12 dead and at least 30 injured, witnesses said.

Two of the 12 were members of al-Shabaab, according to Sheik Ali Mohamud Raghe, a spokesman for the militants. Al-Shabaab is an extremist group that the United States considers to be a terrorist organization.

Somali government officials downplayed the offensive, calling it "small and careless."

Somalia has been mired in chaos since 1991 when warlords overthrew dictator Mohamed Siad Barre and sparked brutal clan infighting. The transitional government has struggled to establish authority amid challenges by militants.

 
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