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Fighting in Mogadishu Eases as Somali Mediators Call for Talks


Fighting has eased in Somalia's main city Mogadishu as local clan elders and Islamic leaders call for talks between the warring parties.

Since last Sunday, street clashes between Islamic militias and an alliance of warlords have killed more than 140 people - mostly civilians. Thousands more have fled the city.

The battles have drawn criticism from politicians and clan leaders, who called for a meeting with both sides Sunday.

Somalia's interim president Abdullah Yusuf Ahmed recently warned that representatives of the armed groups may be excluded from his Cabinet.

Many Somalis say the recent violence is the worst in years and is being fueled by outside countries. U.N. arms monitors recently said weapons are flowing "like a river" into Somalia, despite an international arms embargo.

Locals say anti-American sentiment in Mogadishu has grown over allegations that the United States is secretly supporting the warlord alliance. American officials have declined to comment on any relationship, but have said that they support the alliance's goal of rooting out terrorism.

Warlords accuse the Islamic militias of having ties to al Qaida. The Islamic militias accuse the warlords of being pawns of the United States.

Somalia has been lawless for some 15 years, and U.S. officials have long viewed the country as a possible terrorist haven.

Some information for this report provided by AFP and AP.

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