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Death toll rises as violence rocks Somali capital

A Somali government soldier patrols the streets of southern Mogadishu on February 17, 2010.
A Somali government soldier patrols the streets of southern Mogadishu on February 17, 2010.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Fighting continues in Somali capital day after 29 killed in clashes
  • At least 80 wounded in fighting between government forces and Al-Shabaab rebels
  • State defense minister claimed victory in Wednesday's fighting
  • Al-Shabaab wants to implement a stricter form of Islamic law, sharia
RELATED TOPICS
  • Somalia
  • Al-Shabaab
  • East Africa

(CNN) -- Heavy fighting flared in the Somali capital Thursday, a day after a battle between government forces and Al-Shabaab rebels left 29 dead and scores injured.

At least 80 people were wounded in the fighting, which started Wednesday morning and continued all day, according to government and medical officials.

Most of it occurred in the north of Mogadishu, where a majority of militants allied with Al-Shabaab are believed to be in control, authorities said.

Three foreign rebels, including Algerian commander Abu Mu'sab Aljaza'iri, were killed in the fighting, government radio reported on its Web site.

"Continuous shelling has shaken the whole city," said Yusuf Mohamed Abukar, a local journalist with Shabelle Radio.

A heavy shell fell in Jungal neighborhood in the northern part of Mogadishu, killing 13 people and wounding another 13, according to Abukar, who witnessed the fighting.

Ali Muse Sheikh, head of a local ambulance, said his group transported at least 65 injured civilians to different hospitals.

The state defense minister claimed victory in Wednesday's fighting and said the Al-Shabaab suffered heavy loses. Government forces have detained Al-Shabaab prisoners, said Yusuf Mohamed Siad Indho ade, the minister.

"We have Al-Shabaab prisoners from yesterday's fighting and most of them are minor children who have been brainwashed by the group," he added.

Al-Shabaab, the al Qaeda proxy in the country, was declared a terrorist organization by the United States.

It's waging a war against Somalia's government in an effort to implement a stricter form of Islamic law, or sharia.

Somalia has not had a stable government since 1991, and fighting between the rebels and government troops has escalated the humanitarian crisis in the famine-ravaged country.