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Militants attack peacekeeping base

A Somali man wounded in a mortar attack yesterday in Mogadishu was assisted to a hospital. A Somali man wounded in a mortar attack yesterday in Mogadishu was assisted to a hospital. (MUSTAFA ABDI/AFP/Getty Images)
Associated Press / February 25, 2009
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MOGADISHU, Somalia - Islamic insurgents attacked a peacekeeping base in the Somali capital for the second time in a week yesterday, and clashes between the soldiers and militants left at least 18 people dead throughout the city.

Dozens of others, including women and children, were seriously injured in the fighting, which came two days after a suicide bomber attacked an African Union peacekeeping base, killing 11 Burundian soldiers.

An extremist Islamic group called al-Shabab, which claims the AU troops are an occupying force and has threatened them, claimed responsibility for Sunday's attack.

The US State Department considers al-Shabab a terrorist organization linked to Al Qaeda, something the group has denied.

Spokesman Robert Wood called Sunday's attackers "desperate extremists who aim to strip from the Somali people an opportunity to determine their own future."

Yesterday, Mogadishu's ambulance service staff collected the 18 bodies from different parts of the capital, said Rufa'i Mohamed Salad, one of the coordinators.

Medina Hospital Director Dahir Mohamed Dhere said 78 people wounded in the fighting were admitted to his hospital.

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