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At Least 12 Killed in Mogadishu Clashes

Witnesses in Somalia's capital say at least 12 people have been killed in the latest fighting between government forces and Islamist insurgents.

The fighting that broke out late Tuesday was said to be the heaviest since Ethiopian troops backing the government withdrew from Mogadishu last week.

Residents say at least four people died when insurgents attacked a government checkpoint in the northern neighborhood of Sana. More were killed in a fight to control a police post in the Madina neighborhood. That second clash prompted hundreds of local residents to flee the area.

The insurgent attacks took place in parts of Mogadishu where the interim Somali government still has nominal control.

The insurgents have taken over nearly all of central and southern Somalia in recent months, except for the capital and the parliament seat of Baidoa.

The government has been weakened by infighting and is without a president following the resignation of Abdullahi Yusuf last month. Parliament is scheduled to elect a new leader January 29.

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