Reports say heavy fighting has broken out between government forces backed by African Union (AU) troops and Islamist rebels in the Somali capital, Mogadishu.
The clashes come just a day after the UN World Food Program began an airlift of emergency relief into Mogadishu, where huge numbers of people are at risk of starvation from a prolonged drought.
Hospital officials said AU troops killed at least six rebels during the July 28 operation. At least 20 people were injured.
Somalia is the country worst-hit by the most severe drought in 60 years in the Horn of Africa, with an estimated 10 million people -- or half of the population -- in need of assistance.
However, rebels from the radical Islamist Al-Shabab group have banned most international aid groups from areas in the south of the country under their control, including areas where the United Nations earlier this month declared a famine.
compiled from agency reports