American aircraft struck at a Somali militia's storage sites Monday for a third consecutive day. No militia casualties were reported, but three civilians were wounded when a rocket apparently went awry and struck a sidewalk tea stall several hundred yards from the intended target.
The attack fed the growing anger in the capital against the United States and the United Nations. At a rally in the middle of the city, several hundred people gathered to protest the air strikes, sitting on the ground and chanting "Down With Bill Clinton!"
A day after Pakistani peacekeeping troops opened fire on a crowd of protesters, killing at least 20 Somalis and wounding more than 50, U.N. troops remained in their compounds, their only visible presence being patrols of helicopter gunships swooping buzzing buildings and crowds.
The Pentagon said Monday it has sent four more AH-1F Cobra attack helicopters and two OH-58D Kiowa scout helicopters to Somalia and would keep them _ and four AC-130H gunships _ in Somalia as long as needed.
U.N. officials said there had been no contact with Gen. Mohamad Farrah Aidid, whose faction is accused of ambushing and killing 23 Pakistani peacekeepers and wounding 59 others on June 5.
Jonathan Howe, a retired U.S. Navy admiral who is the U.N. special representative here, said a letter to Aidid had been returned because he could not be found. But Aidid has been seen visiting the areas that were attacked and holding a news conference.
Aidid said Monday he would be willing to talk with the United Nations if the attacks stopped, but Howe said Aidid had to disarm, stop inciting violence, and help in the prosecution of those responsible for the killing of the Pakistanis.
U.N. officials have stressed that earlier U.N. attacks were conducted at night and preceded by extensive reconnaissance to minimize civilian casualties. Monday's strike, the first to take place in daylight hours, occurred in mid-morning in a busy area.
A U.S. Army spokesman, Lt. Col. Kevin McGovern, said the raid was aimed at a rocket launcher in a walled compound.
A U.N. spokesman, Maj. David Stockwell, said only one missile had been fired and that there were no casualties, but witnesses including reporters and cameramen who filmed the incident said one rocket hit the tea stall and another hit the rocket launcher.
Part of the missile's tail _ gnarled metal and wires _ remained imbedded in the earth near the tea stall, the dust sprinkled with blood and green tea. The city's two main hospitals registered 12 casualties.
_ Information from Los Angeles Times was used in this report.