- The Washington Times - Friday, April 3, 2009

PHNOM PENH, CAMBODIA (AP) - Cambodian troops said Friday a brief gunfight broke out with Thai soldiers at their tense border near the 11th century Preah Vihear temple, the site of increasingly regular conflicts between the neighbors.

Cambodian troops fired on some 60 Thai soldiers after they entered Cambodian territory, sparking a gun battle that lasted about 10 minutes, said Yim Kheang, a Cambodian soldier at the border. He said no Cambodian soldiers were wounded.

“We are on alert, and we are ready for fighting at any time,” he told The Associated Press. “If Thai soldiers come here, Cambodian soldiers will open fire without warning.”

Thai military officials could not immediately be reached for comment.

The two sides regularly dispute each others’ claims.

On Thursday, a Thai soldier in the area lost his leg after stepping on a land mine, but Thai and Cambodian military officials disagreed over which country he was in at the time.

The cliff-top Preah Vihear temple, near the countries’ ill-defined border, has been a source of conflict for decades.

Troops from both countries have been stationed at the border since July 2008, and two clashes near the temple last year sparked brief concerns of war.

Cambodia and Thailand share a 500-mile (800-kilometer) land border, much of which has never been clearly demarcated because the countries refer to different maps.

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