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Somalia: War bulletin for December 25, 2006
Mon. December 25, 2006 01:43 pm.

(SomaliNet) The interim government in Baidao issued a decree banning all flights into and out of Somalia yesterday. Somalia territorial waters are also off limits. The Ethiopian air force showed its willingness to enforce the decree by bombarding Mogadishu’s international airport and Somalia’s largest military airspace, Balidogle which lies between Mogadishu and Baidao.

The Islamic Courts forces crumbled after many days of fighting with the pro-government and Ethiopian army in central Somalia today. They lost a vast land in central and south-central Somalia as fast as they captured a few months ago. The first strong hold of the Islamic Courts is now Jowhar, about ninety km. northeast of Mogadishu. Members of previous administration before the courts captured Hiran province are now regrouping to assume control of Beledweyne, the capital of the province. Hiran has been already devastated by floods after a main river overflowed its banks earlier this month.

Baidao environs is another story, the Islamic Courts who were on the offensive earlier in the conflict are putting very stiff resistance against Ethiopian and government troops supported by Ethiopian gunship helicopters. Some sources say the elite commando type arm of the Islamic Courts, headed by much feared and Afghanistan veteran, Adan Ayrow is engaging fierce battles with the Ethiopians in this area.

The courts started to fasten their grip on Mogadishu by deploying road blocks and extra troop movement in the capital, especially the northern districts. One of their spokesman said, there has been some security related incidents in the area and the stepped-up security measures are intended for public safety.

Hundreds of families who wanted to leave Mogadishu are now stuck since airline companies are not risking to take-off while Ethiopian war planes are flying Somalia airspace unchallenged. SomaliNet talked to a man who went to Mogadishu with his wife and children just past week to visit his aging parents. The Ethiopian warplanes struck the airport when he was at the airport trying to send the wife and children out of the country but it was too late.

Unconfirmed reports say the courts are retreating from many fronts and are planning to employ a new guerrilla tactic against more superior Ethiopian regular army.

News Category: Somalia
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