Ethiopia to pull troops from Somalia

MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) -- Somalia's U.N.-supported government is losing the military support of key ally.

Ethiopia says it will withdraw its troops from the capital, Mogadishu, by the end of the year. That will leave the city vulnerable to Islamic militants who control most of the rest of the country.

Ethiopia sent troops into Somalia almost two years ago, with U.S. backing. They drove the militants from Mogadishu, where they had ruled for six months.

But since then they have struggled to prop up the Transitional Federal Government, while the Islamists have waged a ferocious insurgency. The militants have taken control of towns within miles of the capital, and now move freely inside Mogadishu.

The U.S. worries that Somalia could be a terrorist breeding ground, particularly since Osama bin Laden declared his support for the Islamists.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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