Somali troops and their Ethiopian allies pounded insurgent positions across the capital Thursday with helicopters and tanks, sending residents running for their lives during a fierce surge in fighting that killed at least 10 people.
The military operation was the beginning of a three-day push to restore order in Mogadishu as Ethiopian troops withdraw. The capital has been under near daily attack from Islamic insurgents, said Mohamed Mohamud Husein, spokesman for the Somali president.
"The operation will take at most three days, and it's aimed at rooting the terrorists out of the city," he said.
Earlier Thursday, at least six people were killed in fresh skirmishes between Ethiopian troops supporting the fragile Somali government and insurgents, residents said. The dead were believed to be civilians.
Meanwhile, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi said his country had successfully accomplished its mission in Somalia. He said extremists are no longer a "clear and present danger" to Ethiopia.