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More Than 40 Killed in Heavy Fighting in Somali Capital


Bodies littered the streets of the Somali capital Friday, after the deaths of more than 40 people in fighting between Ethiopian troops and insurgents.

Witnesses say Ethiopian forces fired shells into Mogadishu's Bakara market area early today, killing at least eight civilians. Residents say Ethiopian snipers killed two others.

Meanwhile, the bodies of at least 34 people were found in Hamar Jadid, Suqaholaha and other parts of the city where heavy fighting took place beginning Thursday and continuing overnight.

The fighting intensified Thursday after residents dragged the body of a slain Ethiopian soldier through the streets while crowds of onlookers chanted "God is great."

Mogadishu has endured nearly a year of continuous fighting between the mainly Islamist insurgents and the Ethiopians, who are supporting Somalia's transitional government.

Ethiopia sent the troops into Somalia last year to help the government stop Islamists from taking control of the entire country.

The fighting has prompted hundreds of thousands of residents to flee the city for safer areas, with many going to the town of Afgooye to the south.

The United Nations refugee agency said earlier this week that many of those displaced Somalis are living in extremely harsh conditions, with little shelter and not enough water.

On Thursday, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon said that sending U.N. peacekeepers to Somalia is not a "realistic or viable option."

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.

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