Mortar raid kills 15 in Somalia

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Saturday, September 12, 2009

Fifteen people, among them disabled war veterans, were killed on Saturday after a hospital in Somalia was bombarded by mortar rockets launched by opposition fighters.

The attack was targeted at a residential area in the country's capital of Mogadishu, but instead struck a veteran's hospital nearby.

Mohamed Abdi, a patient at the hospital, was a witness to the event. "I was sitting in my wheelchair about 10 meters [30 feet] away from my friends when a mortar exploded and smoke and dust covered us all. I saw my friends on the ground, with blood scattered everywhere like slaughtered goats," he told the Associated Press news agency.

Somali human rights activist Ali Sheik Fadhaa condemned the attacks. "It is horrific and inhumane to shell civilian areas," he said.

Somalia has been in a civil war since 1991, when the last effective government, led by Siad Barre, was overthrown by warlords, who soon afterwards started fighting between themselves.