update 18 dead in Somalia violence
Update Somalia violence kills 14, parliament fails to meet
The clashes broke out at dawn when heavily armed fighters from the Islamist movement Shebab launched an attack on soldiers stationed on one of the war-battered city's frontlines in the Hosh neighbourhood.
"Insurgents, supported by foreign terrorists, attacked our bases in the Hosh area early this morning. There was heavy fighting that left many dead," government security official Ahmed Warsame told AFP.
"Their dead bodies are strewn across the area, we inflicted heavy casualties on our opponents," he claimed.
Warsame said he had counted the dead bodies of eight insurgents and admitted to losing three government troops.
Several witnesses interviewed by AFP confirmed they had seen at least 10 bodies in the area where the fighting took place.
"I saw around 10 dead bodies in Hosh area. I cannot say which group they belonged to because I was fleeing when I saw them," said Adan Sidow, a local resident.
There were no immediate reports of any civilians killed in the crossfire.
The Shebab control two thirds of Somalia and have been closing in on the small perimetre in Mogadishu controlled by the Western-backed transitional federal government and African Union troops.