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Thai and Cambodian troops in clash

A long-running border conflict between Thailand and Cambodia has flared up with troops from the two countries exchanging fire along their disputed frontier, security officials from both nations said.

There were no immediate reports of casualties in the clash, the first between Thailand and Cambodia since four straight days of artillery duels and gunfire erupted in February at the 11th century Preah Vihear temple, killing at least eight people.

Thai army spokesman Colonel Sansern Kaewkamnerd said the latest skirmishes erupted after dawn and continued for at least half an hour. Cambodian defence ministry spokesman Lt Gen Chhum Socheat confirmed the fighting and said it took place about 155 miles west of Preah Vihear.

Mr Chhum said the fighting took place at another temple in Ta Krabey that is also claimed by both nations. He said both sides had used rocket launchers, machine guns and rifles.

It was unclear what sparked the latest fighting.

The conflict is rooted in a decades-old border dispute over ancient temples and the land surrounding them, which has fuelled nationalist passions on both sides.

Tensions between the neighbours have been exacerbated in recent months in part by pressure from powerful Thai nationalist groups, which have staged protests in Bangkok urging the government to reclaim the land.

Clashes have erupted several times since 2008, when Preah Vihear was given UN World Heritage status.

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