Islamists are taking control of towns in Somalia. Eight so far.
Islamist fighters Thursday seized a central Somali town from Ethiopian-backed government forces in a fierce fight that left at least 17 people dead, a local journalist said.
The fighters are members of al-Shaabab, which the United States recently designated as a terrorist group, saying it has ties to al Qaeda.
The fighting between al-Shaabab forces and the Ethiopian-backed Somali forces broke out at 6 a.m. in the town of Adaado and continued for six hours, according to reporter Mohamed Moallin Appullahi, who spoke to CNN from Adaado.
The Islamist fighters destroyed two military tanks and captured eight other military vehicles from government forces stationed in Adaado, before forcing them to withdraw to a nearby town and across the Ethiopian border, Appullahi said.
...The Associated Press reported Thursday that Adaado is the eighth town seized by the Islamist fighters in recent weeks.
...Asked about reports that Islamist fighters seized control of a town outside Mogadishu earlier this week, State Department spokesman Tom Casey did not seem too concerned.
"What we've seen recently is patterns where extremists will, in fact, go into an individual village or location temporarily, conduct activities there, but not sustain that or hold it in any meaningful way," he said during a briefing Monday.