Libyan troops clashed with Islamist militants in the eastern city of Benghazi on Monday in gun battles in which at least nine people were killed and dozens were wounded, according to medical and security sources.
Still in training, Libya's new military is struggling to curb Islamist militants and militias who fought in the uprising against Muammar Gaddafi but refuse to disarm and control parts of the country.
Gunfire and explosions could be heard in Benghazi and thick smoke rose from the Ras Obeida area. The army ordered residents to stay off the city streets and recalled troops on leave to their units in the city.
Fighting broke out when an army special forces unit pursued a suspect into an area where Islamist militant group Ansar al-Sharia operates its own checkpoints, Benghazi city security officials said.