Witness Reports Suspected Islamic Insurgents Set Off Blast in Somalia, Killing 5 Soldiers

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Suspected Islamic insurgents set off an explosion that killed at least five soldiers in the Somali capital Tuesday, witnesses said.

Mogadishu resident Hassan Mohamed said he saw the bodies of two Somali soldiers and three of their Ethiopian allies. There was no immediate confirmation from the government or the rebels.

Insurgents launch near-daily attacks on the Ethiopian forces backing Somalia's shaky transitional government. Ethiopian troops have been in Somalia since ousting the insurgents from much of southern Somalia and the capital in December 2006.

Peace talks that began last week stalled without any significant dialogue between the two sides.

Earlier in the month, the rebels vowed to avenge the death of Hashi Aden Ayro, the leader of the Islamic al-Shabab militia killed in a U.S. missile strike in central Somalia.

Mohamed said Ethiopian forces opened fire Tuesday in the confusion following the deadly blast, but said he ran off before he could see whether anyone was hit.

Safiya Ali, who lives nearby, said she saw more Ethiopian reinforcements seal off the area to collect their dead and wounded.