At least six people have been killed and more than seventeen others injured after heavy fighting between Somali government soldiers and Islamic Courts Union fighters erupted around the Somali presidential palace early on Thursday, officials and witnesses said.
"We attacked the enemy bases early after morning prayers and we inflicted heavy casualties," Islamic Courts Union spokesman, Sheik Abdirahim Isse Adow told Shabelle Media Network. Two of our fighters were wounded, he added.
"Three mortar shells landed into our neighbourhood and three people died instantly," one resident who did not want his name in print, said. Dozens were wounded, he added.
The Somali military spokesman, Dahir Mohamed Hersi claimed they have killed ten fighters from the Islamists.
Medina hospital officials confirmed they have treated seventeen people and two of them died from sustained wounds in the fighting.
The fighting comes as the former chief of the Islamic Courts Union, Sheik Sharif Sheik Ahmed, returned to Mogadishu yesterday for the first time since two years.