The UN Security Council called an emergency meeting Tuesday on the fighting in Somalia between Ethiopian forces backing the country's weak transitional government and the powerful Islamic militia that controls most of the country.
Francois Lonseny Fall, the UN secretary-general's special representative to Somalia, was expected to brief the council on the latest developments in the country, which has not had an effective government since 1991.
Forces supporting the Council of Islamic Courts have been under heavy fire since Sunday, when Ethiopia sent fighter jets across the border to help Somalia's internationally backed government push out the Islamic militia. Ethiopia bombed the country's two main airports and helped government forces capture several villages.
Ethiopia's Prime Minister Meles Zenawi said Tuesday that Islamic fighters were making a tactical retreat after suffering heavy casualties as government and Ethiopian troops advanced.