MOGADISHU, Somalia – Fighting in Somalia's capital flared for a third straight day Wednesday, killing eight people and pushing the week's death toll past 80 as insurgents tried to force government troops back toward the presidential palace, officials said.
Mortar and rocket fire forced residents to flee and closed businesses. Fighting between al-Shabab militants and government and African Union forces has been fierce ever since the al-Qaida-linked militant group declared a new "massive" war against African Union troops on Monday.
"They attacked us last night in large numbers with RPGs (rocket propelled grenades) and mortars, trying to run over us and seize the Maka Al-Mukarama strategic road," said Sheikh Osman, a militia commander allied with the government. "For military tactics we initially retreated overnight, and this morning as we received reinforcements we repulsed them."