Heavy fighting has broken out around the airport in the Somali capital, Mogadishu, near to where African Union peacekeepers are based
The peacekeepers and government troops were involved in battles with Islamist insurgents, according to reports.
Loud gunfire could be heard in the background as a witness described Thursday’s fighting to the BBC.
Militants have targeted the airport in recent weeks as they battle government troops and their Ethiopian allies.
They have labelled the airport as a tool of Ethiopia’s "occupation" of Somalia.
Somalia has been without a functioning government since President Mohamed Siad Barre was ousted in 1991.
Ethiopian troops helped the government push Islamist forces from control of central and southern Somalia in late 2006, triggering an insurgency.
More than three million people – almost half of Somalia’s population – need food aid, according to the UN.
Aid agencies recently estimated that 1.1 million people had been uprooted from Mogadishu over the last nine months.