The latest blast came after heavy clashes overnight in the north and south of the city between suspected Islamic courts fighters, police and Ethiopian troops.


A senior policeman in the north said assailants armed with machine guns, rocket-propelled grenades and artillery mounted on trucks attacked police in Horuwa, an Islamic courts stronghold where interim government troops have been repeatedly attacked since last week.

He said: "They attacked the policemen thrice and were repulsed every time they attacked.

"No policeman was killed or wounded... This was the heaviest attack on our forces since a curfew was imposed last Friday."


Daily attacks

Residents said sporadic shooting could be heard early on Tuesday, and that Ethiopian troops had cordoned off streets and posted snipers on tall buildings.

Abdullahi Abdi, who lives in north Mogadishu, said: "They have sealed off the area, forcing pedestrians who were going to the livestock market to take a longer route."

The capital has been hit by near-daily attacks targeting government troops and their Ethiopian military allies that are blamed on the ousted Islamic courts.