« They are fighting with rocket-propelled grenades and heavy machineguns, » said resident Hassan Nor who was trapped by the gunfire at a nearby house..
Another eyewitness said the fighting had spread to the northern part of the city. « There is now intense fighting going on around Heile Barise [north Mogadishu]. »
He said many families were trying to get out of the conflict zone. « It is a very confused situation. People are wandering from one area to another hoping that it would be safer. »
It was not immediately clear if there were any casualties in the earlier mortar strikes on Ethiopian troops army base, where more than a dozen explosions could be heard.
The islamists have vowed to attack any foreign troops and the interim government following Ethiopian allied government troops ousted their Islamic rule.
They have mounted almost daily attacks since the government took over the capital in late December.