Forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi have repelled a rebel advance towards the Libyan leader’s hometown, Sirte.
Heavy weapons fire was reported on Tuesday outside Nawfaliyah, some 150 kilometres east of Sirte.
The renewed fighting is said to have prompted a mass exodus of civilians from Nawfaliyah and forced the rebels back to Bin Jawad further east along the coastal road.
For the moment at least, it means the rebels’ swift westward progress over the weekend appears to have ground to a halt.
Since coalition strikes began, the insurgents have managed to turn the tide in their favour. However, Sirte appears different with reports that residents in the city fired on rebels as they entered.
Elsewhere, the US attacked three Libyan ships on Monday night, including a coast guard vessel. Military officials said the strikes were launched to prevent them firing on merchant shipping.