Libya mobilized all army forces in the eastern city of Benghazi and issued orders to open fire on anyone carrying weapons after overnight clashes with an Islamist militia left nine dead and dozens wounded.
Twenty-five years ago, it took the specter of a deranged dictator sending agents to the U.S. with plastic guns to get Congress to pass a law banning undetectable weapons. Now that law is about to expire, and though the dictator is dead, the threat is more real than ever.
This week, regular Libyan forces wearing crisp new fatigues and riding in Humvees took up positions in the capital, Tripoli, and ordinary Libyans ran into the streets to cheer the unfamiliar troops as liberators.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry expressed concern about clashes in Libya between government- affiliated militias and protesters that the Associated Press reported to have killed at least 47 people since yesterday.
The U.S., U.K., France and Italy expressed concern at instability in Libya and called on its people to shun force, after the worst gun battles in months between rival militias in the capital Tripoli left two dead.