15 Somalis dead as Islamist attacks spark fighting

MOGADISHU, Somalia — Somaliinsurgents sparked the heaviest day of fighting in the capital in monthsFriday, launching simultaneous attacks on government forces and peacekeepersthat killed at least 15 people, residents and a medical official said.

A spokesman for the Islamicinsurgency said the early morning attacks on multiple government bases andAfrican Union peacekeeping troops were a response to a plan for peacekeepersand the government to wrest back control of .

"The fighting was a responseto the so-called government and the (African Union peacekeepers) trying tointimidate us by saying that they will take control of the whole capital,"Sheik Ali Mohamud Rage said.

Friday's attacks come a few daysbefore the first anniversary of President Sheik Sharif Sheik Ahmed'sgovernment. At the time it was hoped that the election of Ahmed, a formerIslamist, would drain support from the insurgency. But the weak and dividedadministration has not proved able to deliver either security or services tothe population.

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