Monday, June 05, 2006

Islamists capture Mogadishu

Islamist forces with suspected ties to al-Qaeda have defeated a U.S.-backed alliance and appear ready to occupy the Somali capital Mogadishu.

Forces loyal to Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, chairman of Mogadishu's Islamic courts, had captured most of the city from the alliance of warlords after a four-month battle that killed at least 347 people.

Warlord alliance troops at their northern Mogadishu base.
Warlord alliance troops at their northern Mogadishu base. AFP photo from Yahoo News.

The Islamic courts have denied accusations that they are harboring al-Qaeda operatives.

Although never publicly acknowledged, U.S. officials have told members of AFP that Washington has provided funds and intelligence to the warlord alliance to prevent the "Talibanization" of Somalia.

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