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Old 12-02-2006, 03:26 AM   #1
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MOGADISHU (AFP) - Somalia teetered on the brink of all-out war after an Islamist-claimed suicide attack on the seat of government, and neighboring Ethiopia's decision to authorize action against any Islamist incursion.

Islamist commanders in Mogadishu and the Bay region where Baidoa is located said the attack was aimed at an Ethiopian military position and that between 24 and 40 Ethiopian soldiers had been killed.

"There were two suicide cars full of explosives," Somali police commander General Ali Hussein told AFP, adding that 12 people were killed in the blasts, including one of his officers, the bombers and occupants of a nearby vehicle.

He denied any Ethiopian troops had been involved, saying that aside from the police officer and the bombers, the other casualties were all Somali civilians.

Witnesses at the scene, however, said they believed the death toll was higher and insisted only one car had actually detonated, destroying two other vehicles.

"The suiciders were only using one car, the other two cars were victims of the blast," said Mukhtar Hassan, who lives near the Boynunay checkpoint.

"I was near the checkpoint and before we knew what was going there was some kind of fire and then a huge blast from a Toyota Mark II," he told AFP.

The checkpoint is closely guarded by Somali authorities who keep close watch on those entering and leaving Baidoa, about 250 kilometers (155 miles) northwest of Mogadishu and the only town held by the weak national government.

Security has been tight there since a failed mid-September attempt to assassinate Somali President Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed, which was believed to be Somalia's first-ever suicide attack.

The government has blamed the September 18 incident on the Islamists, who denied responsibility but have since declared holy war on Ethiopian troops protecting the government.
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Old 12-02-2006, 12:13 PM   #2
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Well, we had over 10 years to try to strengthen Somalia's government, and didn't. I guess it wasn't in our "strategic interests" until the Islamists started filling the void.
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Old 12-02-2006, 12:24 PM   #3
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I seem to recall Bin Laden declaring the US a paper tiger after a certain event in Somalia - I guess nobody recognised any importance to it.
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Old 12-02-2006, 09:10 PM   #4
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Originally posted by Ormus
Well, we had over 10 years to try to strengthen Somalia's government, and didn't. I guess it wasn't in our "strategic interests" until the Islamists started filling the void.
As in "no oil".
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