Somalia: 17 civilians, 2 Ethiopian troops killed in clash with militants

Islamic militants firing rockets and mortars clashed with Somali troops and their Ethiopian allies in fighting that killed at least 17 civilians and two Ethiopian soldiers in Mogadishu, witnesses said Tuesday. The fighting occurred late Monday when Somali and Ethiopian troops were trying to conduct house-to-house searches in the Somali capital's northern Hiliwa district, traditional elder Mohamud Haji Nur said. Insurgents also fired mortars and rocket-propelled grenades at a former pasta factory where the Ethiopians have a military base. The Ethiopians responded with artillery shells that slammed into nearby residential areas, Nur said. He said his men collected the bodies of 15 civilians. "Some died while fleeing the fighting while others died in their homes when Ethiopian mortars responding to insurgent attacks slammed into their houses," said Nur.