- At least 30 people were killed in fierce fighting that erupted between Islamist rebels and Somali government forces in capital Mogadishu's main market earlier today.
Rebels reportedly attacked two African Union (AU) peacekeeping bases in Mogadishu and shelled city's main airport as well as hit government buildings in bustling Bakara market area.
Government is said to have always suspected that insurgents use Bakara market as their base.
Despite United Nations (UN) efforts to broker a peace deal, fighting has worsened this month in Somalia, with Islamists ceaselessly battling interim government and its Ethiopian military backers.
According to witnesses, six of dead were members of a single family who were killed when a mortar landed on their house.
Media reports show that incessant gunfire and explosions could be heard overnight after simultaneous attacks on AU's two main bases.
A lot of people were reportedly going to mosques for Muslim holy month of Ramadan, when first onslaught was launched around 0200 hours local time.
In a separate incident, Somali troops reportedly opened fire on kidnappers to free a German national and his Somali wife earlier today, two days after the couple was taken hostage in northern Somalia.
Reports indicate that police in semi-autonomous north-eastern region of Puntland eventually released the couple unharmed.
Fighting is said to have been so fierce that people were unable to go and collect bodies of dead.
Two medical staff and a patient were also reportedly wounded when a mortar hit a mental hospital.
AU spokesman Baridgye Bahuko said there had been no casualties among peacekeepers.
Reports further show that on Friday, an AU plane became first aircraft to land at main Mogadishu airport for four days, after insurgents from al-Shabab group reportedly threatened to shoot down planes.
Representatives from government and Islamist groups reportedly delayed cease-fire they had been due to sign on Friday in neighbouring Djibouti.
It is believed two groups could not agree on content of a statement on withdrawal of Ethiopian troops from Somalia.
Ethiopians intervened in 2006 to help Somali government oust Islamist militants from Mogadishu and surrounding regions.
Islamist fighters from al-Shabab group did not participate in Djibouti talks. They instead reportedly said they would step up attacks during Ramadan.
Only Uganda and Burundi have contributed troops to AU peacekeeping force, which has just 2,000 troops of 8,000 planned.
Somalia has been under siege since 1991, when former president Mohamed Siad Barre was overthrown.
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