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20 dead, 60 wounded in Somalia shelling

By the CNN Wire Staff
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Civilians killed in Mogadishu shelling
  • Civilians killed in market as Somali government forces clash with insurgents
  • Shelling began when parliament opened Sunday, ambulance official says
  • Somali forces have been battling Al-Shabaab, al Qaeda proxy in Somalia
  • Somalia
  • Al Shabaab
  • Al Qaeda
  • African Union

(CNN) -- At least 20 people were killed and 60 others wounded in shelling in the Somali capital Sunday, medics told CNN.

Most of those killed were civilians who died inside the Bakara Market in Mogadishu as Somali government forces clashed with Islamist insurgent fighters from Al-Shabaab and Hizbul Islam, said Ali Muse, director of Nationlink Ambulance.

The shelling began when the parliament session opened Sunday in Mogadishu, he said. It continued in parts of the capital, and the number of casualties was expected to increase, Muse said.

Somali forces have been battling Al-Shabaab, the al Qaeda proxy in the country. The militants are waging a war against the government in an effort to implement a stricter form of Islamic law, or sharia.

The horn of Africa nation 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.

The United Nations-backed interim government fights the rebels with the help of African Union peacekeepers.