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Somali government launches new offensive

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Several people are dead and dozens wounded in the Somali capital of Mogadishu as Somali government forces launch a new offensive against the Islamist rebels who have been in control of the region.

The BBC reports that the Friday's battles are the latest in 10 days of fighting between government forces and two militant groups, Al Shabab and Hizbul Islam, which have left more than 100 civilians dead.  The new fighting is over territory seized from the government last week by Islamist rebels.

The BBC's Mohamed Olad Hassan, in Mogadishu, says the pro-government forces have launched a massive military offensive against the insurgents.
Most of the fighting is focusing around one of the city's main roads, Wadnaha, he says.
African Union peacekeepers based in the capital to support the fragile administration are not involved in the attack, he adds. The 4,300-strong force does not have a mandate to pursue the insurgents.
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