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Bomb hidden in trash pile kills 20 Somalis
Asli Hassan cries as she aids her sister, no name available, who was wounded in roadside bomb, Sunday, Aug. 3, 2008, as she waits to be treated at the Madina hospital in the Somali capital, Mogadishu. An explosion killed at least 20 people in the Somali capital Sunday, according to witnesses and a hospital official, as the government struggles with a political crisis that has threatened its peace deal with elements of an Islamic insurgency. - photo by Associated Press
    MOGADISHU, Somalia — A bomb hidden under a pile of garbage killed at least 20 people, half of them women who were sweeping the street in Somalia’s capital, witnesses and doctors said Sunday.
    The explosion and overnight attacks on military bases ended a brief period of relative calm that followed the signing of a peace deal between the government and the Islamic insurgency it is fighting. The agreement was already in jeopardy after the moderate cleric who signed it on behalf of the Islamic opposition movement was replaced by a hard-liner.
    Several witnesses said the scene of Sunday’s explosion was littered with blood and body parts, and described hearing the screams of the wounded as bystanders tried to help. Salah Adde said he counted 15 bodies, including 10 female street cleaners.
    ‘‘I saw an old women who lost two legs and a hand, she was bleeding and later died before our eyes but we could do nothing as we ourselves needed help,’’ Asha Ahmed, a 45-year-old woman who was wounded in the leg by shrapnel, told AP by phone from Medina hospital.
    Dahir Dhere, the head of the hospital, said 47 wounded people were admitted — mostly women and children — and five died. Many were in critical condition, he said.
    ‘‘We do not have enough doctors and enough operational theaters, it takes some time before all patients get access to emergency treatment,’’ he said. ‘‘They are lying in the corridors, and some bled to death.’’
    Hawa Aden, one of the women who survived from the explosion, said the device was hidden near an Ethiopian base on a main road often used by officials and may have detonated after a street cleaner attempted to shovel up the trash covering the bomb.
    In a separate overnight attack, Islamic insurgents reportedly targeted the military bases of Somali government troops and their Ethiopian allies in north Mogadishu’s Towfiq neighborhood, according to a witness.
    Resident Mohamed Deq said he saw the bodies of three government soldiers lying in the street. Authorities did not return calls seeking comment.
    Somalia has been at war since a group of warlords overthrew a socialist dictator in 1991 and then spent years fighting each other.
    On Saturday, 10 of the U.N.-backed government’s 15 ministers broke with the prime minister and announced they would resign.
    Prime Minister Nur Hassan Hussein said Saturday that the resignations were designed ‘‘to derail the ongoing reconciliation process.’’ On Sunday, he nominated five new ministers.
    Associated Press Writer Mohamed Sheikh Nor contributed to this report.

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