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Archive for Friday, December 22, 2006

Peace talks in doubt after war declaration

December 22, 2006

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— Somalia is in "a state of war," the country's Islamic leader said Thursday, as his fighters battled U.N.-backed government troops for control of strategic villages despite an agreement by both sides to return to peace talks. At least 100 people have been killed.

The clashes threaten to spiral into a major conflict in this volatile region, sucking in Ethiopia and its bitter rival Eritrea. Analysts think Ethiopia soon may raise the stakes by deploying attack helicopters in support of the government.

Heavy artillery and mortar exchanges continued Thursday, a day after an EU envoy persuaded both sides to resume peace efforts.

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