updated 4/19/2008 12:27:53 PM ET 2008-04-19T16:27:53

Islamic insurgents clashed with Ethiopian troops in Somalia's capital Saturday in battles that killed 12 people and wounded 10 others, witnesses said.

Jubilant supporters of the insurgents dragged the bodies of four dead Ethiopian soldiers through the streets, one witness, Mudey Ga'al, said.

Eight civilians were also killed. People used wheelbarrows to cart off the handful of wounded —including two children — and the bodies of the dead, said Mohamed Jala, a resident of the area.

Sacido Sheikh said three of his stepbrothers were among those killed. A mortar shell hit their house in a different part of the neighborhood.

Dr. Dahir Dhere at Medina hospital said they admitted four wounded civilians, including two infant boys.

The clashes began early in the morning when Ethiopian troops allied to the shaky transitional government entered the Suqa-hola neighborhood in the northeast of the city, said another resident, Rage Ahmed.

Thousands of Somalis have died in fighting between Islamic insurgents and Ethiopian troops supporting the Somali government. The war is complicated by clan loyalties, corruption and the involvement of archenemies Eritrea and Ethiopia. Torn between heavily armed squabbling warlords, Somalia has not had a functioning government in 17 years.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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