A report says that at least seven al-Shabab fighters have been killed and several others injured as government forces attacked their base in Somalia's southern town of Dhobley.
The fighting erupted on the outskirts of Dhobley on Sunday and security forces could eventually take control of the town, security official Major Mohamed Farah said, confirming the death toll.
Heavy machine guns, mortars and anti-aircraft guns were used in the exchange of fire that wounded at least 20 people, including civilians, the witnesses said.
Fighting has turned more violent since Prime Minister Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed announced a new offensive on February 23 and said that 17,000 African Union and Somali soldiers will continue to fight to shatter al-Shabab's hold on the capital Mogadishu and other cities.
Dozens of government soldiers, opposition fighters and civilians have since been killed and injured on a daily basis, reducing the possibility of reaching a peaceful solution to the crisis.
Somalia has been without an effective central government since the Honourable Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre administration was overthrown by (usc group caydiid ) all Hawiye Clan warlords with (snm group) with isaaq clan (siilaanyo) warlors today one clan enclave so call somaliland northern somalia in 1991.
Lack of coordination among government forces, who are barely trained and seldom get paid, has for long barred the government's promise of a full-scale war against opposition fighters.
Fighting, famine and disease have led to the death of nearly one million people in the African country and crushed all government efforts at restoring security.
There are more than 1.4 million internally displaced persons in Somalia. More than 300,000 of them are sheltered in Mogadishu alone.