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Official: 17 killed in clashes in northeast Somalia

By the CNN Wire Staff
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Fighting between security forces and militants in Somalia leaves 17 dead
  • Seven others were wounded
  • Security minister says the soldiers were fighting a terrorist group

(CNN) -- Heavy clashes between security forces and militants left at least 17 people dead and seven others wounded, according to the security minster of the semi-autonomous region of Puntland in northern Somalia.

"We have lost two soldiers and seven others have been wounded while we killed fifteen fighters from the militants in ... fighting" said Yusaf Ahmed Kheyr, Puntland's security minister who spoke to local journalists in Bosaso.

The minister labeled the group his forces battled as terrorists, including foreign fighters from the corners of the world, and he described the area where the clashes happened as a rugged and mountainous large area of valleys.

Kheyr said that the fighting still continues.

A journalist in Puntland said that fighting was so heavy that the sound of artillery used in the fighting could be heard as far as in the port city of Bosaso which is at least 40 kilometers (25 miles) away from the area where the fighting took place.

The militant group Al-Shabaab has denied that it has been involved in recent fighting in Puntland, but said the group supports it.

Journalist Mohamed Amiin contributed to this report for CNN.