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Somalia vows crackdown after 2 blasts in capital

MOGADISHU, Somalia - The Somali government announced a massive operation to stamp out an insurgency yesterday, hours after two explosions rocked the capital, killing at least four people.

A spokesman for Mogadishu's mayor said the operation began yesterday, though he refused to discuss the number of troops taking part. He said authorities planned to divide the city into four security zones and would station soldiers at every junction.

Hours earlier, assailants hurled a hand grenade at a joint Somali-Ethiopian patrol in southern Mogadishu, killing a soldier, said a resident, Ismail Ibrahim Ali. He said soldiers arrested dozens of civilians in his district after the blast.

Ethiopian soldiers have been bolstering Somalia's weak government since helping to topple an Islamic militia that had controlled much of southern Somalia for six months. The capital has since been mired in fighting between troops and insurgents that has left thousands dead.

Three civilians died in an explosion and gunfire at Bakara Market.

"I heard an explosion and all of a sudden a dead woman fell on me," said a shopper, Mulki Ahmed Muse. She also saw the body of a man and three injured people.

Street hawker Gaashaan Abdi said a man hurled a grenade at a police patrol, and "police opened fire in every direction."

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