A Somali Islamist leader is accusing Ethiopian troops of shelling a central Somali town controlled by Islamist forces.

Sheik Sharif Sheik Ahmed says Ethiopian forces have massed around Bandiradley and fired missiles at Islamist positions in the town. Ethiopian officials have not yet commented on the allegation.

Sheik Ahmed is the leader of the Supreme Council of Islamic Courts, which controls much of southern Somalia. He spoke Tuesday, to a crowd of more than 10,000 supporters in the capital, Mogadishu.

Somalia's Islamic militia seized Bandiradley earlier this month from a local militia allied to the country's weak, transitional government.

Rising tensions between Somalia's Islamists and Ethiopia's government have raised fears of a regional conflict in the Horn of Africa.

Washington says it will propose a U.N. Security Council resolution authorizing the deployment of African peacekeepers to protect Somalia's transitional government.

U.S. officials say the resolution to be unveiled this week will exempt a regional peacekeeping force from the existing U.N. arms embargo on Somalia.

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