MOGADISHU, July 19 (Xinhua) -- At least 16 people were killed and almost 50 others wounded on Monday after Islamist insurgents waged a concerted assault on Somali government forces and African Union (AU) peacekeeping forces in the Somali capital of Mogadishu, medical sources and witnesses said.
The fighting initially broke out in the northeast of the capital, igniting heavy exchanges of artillery and machine gunfire which hit areas far from the battlegrounds, including a school where almost nine children were wounded, some severely. "Our staff took 47 wounded people including school children while the ambulance nurses saw eight dead civilians in the areas we covered," Ali Muse, head of local ambulance service told Xinhua.
Witnesses in different districts in Mogadishu and hospital sources put the death toll from the fighting at almost 16, mostly civilians caught in the crossfire.
Both Islamist commanders and Somali government officials claimed victory in the latest confrontations which centered on the heavily-contested northeastern part of the Somali capital.
Many families who remained in few residential areas in the north and northeast of the capital started fleeing their home to the outskirts of Mogadishu where most of the city's residents sought refuge.
Sporadic shelling and gunfire could still be heard around the north of the coastal city. Stray bullets have hit all parts of Mogadishu.