car bomb.jpgClashes between Somali government troops and Al-Shabab fighters have left 15 people dead and at least 45 civilians injured.

 

Al-Shabab fighters who aim to topple the president of Somalia, who is backed by African Union troops, have launched a new offensive to take Mogadishu.

 

Fighting began on Sunday night, stopped overnight, but resumed on Monday morning on various fronts of the northern districts of Abdiasis, Shibis, Karan, Daynile, and Bondhere.

 

Several mortar shells and heavy gunfire also rocked the northern district of Hamar Weyne, where Al-Shabab fighters tried to advance.

 

According to media reports, after exchanging artillery and gunfire for hours late on Monday, both sides claimed victory but denied causing civilian deaths and injuries.

 

Al-Shabab has claimed that its fighters have captured several areas.

 

However, Somali government officials have rejected the Al-Shabab claims, saying their troops are still in control of the contested areas.

 

The two sides have been battling for the same districts for months without gaining much ground.

 

Over 21,000 people have been killed in the fighting in Mogadishu since early 2007.