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At Least 8 Killed in Mogadishu Fighting


Witnesses in Somalia's capital say at least eight people have been killed in a heavy artillery battle between insurgents and pro-government forces.

Residents say Islamist militants fired mortar shells at Somalia's presidential palace late Sunday, prompting return firefrom government soldiers or African Union peacekeeping troops.

Many shells hit homes in northern Mogadishu. Ali Musa, head of the city's ambulance service, says 55 people were wounded, some seriously.

Somali President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed was not at the palace at the time of the attack. He is in Ethiopia attending the African Union summit.

This is the second major burst of fighting in Mogadishu in three days. On Friday, 15 people were killed after fighters from the insurgent group al-Shabab attacked bases belonging to government and AU soldiers.

Al-Shabab and fellow Islamist group Hizbul Islam control large parts of the capital and have been fighting to overthrow the Western-backed government.

The militants, who also control large areas of southern Somalia, want to set up a strict Islamic state in Somalia.

The United States considers al-Shabab a terrorist group and says it has links to al-Qaida.

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

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