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Somali President Urges International Help to Fight Terrorism

Somalia's president has urged the international community to address threats posed by the Somali terrorist group al-Shabab, an affiliate of al-Qaida.

Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed told world leaders at the U.N. General Assembly Saturday that any delay in addressing this "clear and present danger" would prolong regional instability and international terrorism. He called on the U.N. Security Council to pass a resolution aimed at deterring the spread of al-Qaida terrorists and their "homegrown" affiliates such as al-Shabab.

Al-Shabab launched a bloody offensive about one month ago in hopes of toppling Somalia's transitional government and setting up a strict Islamic state. Al-Shabab and another insurgent group, Hizbul Islam, control much of southern Somalia and most of the capital, Mogadishu.

The government has held on to a few key areas of Mogadishu with the help of soldiers in an African Union force.

On Thursday, new clashes between pro-government troops and Islamist insurgents in Mogadishu killed 20 people and wounded 68 others.

In his speech before the U.N. General Assembly, President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed also noted what he described as terrorism by pirates attacking ships in the Indian Ocean and Gulf of Aden. He said such piracy is threatening maritime and international trade.

Somalia has not had a stable central government since 1991.

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