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Tens of thousands flee Thai-Cambodia clashes, Thailand says

By the CNN Wire Staff
Cambodian soldiers travel in a military truck along a street near the border with Thailand on Monday.
Cambodian soldiers travel in a military truck along a street near the border with Thailand on Monday.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Fresh clash breaks out Tuesday but is calmed quickly, a Thai official says
  • Thai Health Ministry says 27,000 Thais are living in temporary shelters
  • Each side blames the other for the violence, which erupted near two disputed temples
  • U.S. Secretary of State Clinton says the United States is "deeply concerned"

Bangkok, Thailand (CNN) -- Tens of thousands of people have fled fighting between Thailand and Cambodia over the past week, 30 people have been injured, and five Thai soldiers have been killed, the Thai Ministry of Public Health said Tuesday.

About 27,000 people are living in 33 temporary shelters in Thailand, the ministry said.

Clashes between the two sides began last Friday, with each country accusing the other of trying to seize two ancient temples.

Thai Foreign Minsiter Kasit Piromya visited the province and said in a statement Tuesday that Cambodia is still attacking Thais.

RELATED TOPICS
  • Cambodia
  • Thailand
Gallery: Preah Vihear temple

There was a brief exchange of fire between Cambodian and Thai troops Tuesday afternoon, but it was calmed quickly, Thai Col. Sansern Kaewkumnerd said.

There were no new casualties from the incident, which he said resulted from a misunderstanding stemming from a routine Air Force exercise.

Both sides claim the disputed temples are in their country. Thailand calls them Ta Kwai and Ta Muen, while Cambodia calls them Ta Krabey and Ta Moan. Much of the border between the two countries remains in dispute.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Monday that the United States "remains deeply concerned about clashes between security forces along the Thailand-Cambodia border."

The U.S. government is speaking directly to Thai and Cambodian officials, and also supports efforts by Indonesia, the chair of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, to work with both countries on a resolution, Clinton's statement said.

The fighting on the ground has been coupled with a war of words in recent days.

Cambodia said Monday that Thai warplanes had entered its airspace and that the Thai military had shelled populated Cambodian territory. Cambodia's government has said three of its troops have been killed in the fighting.

On Sunday, Sansern accused Cambodian troops of opening fire first and said Thai troops responded to protect their country's sovereignty.

In February, at least 10 people were killed when fighting flared up in another disputed border area between the two nations, prompting the United Nations Security Council to issue a statement calling on both sides to implement a cease-fire.

Those clashes, which lasted four days, stemmed from a longstanding conflict related to the 11th-century Preah Vihear temple. Both Cambodia and Thailand lay claim to the temple, which sits atop a cliff on Cambodian soil but has its most accessible entrance on the Thai side. At the time, each nation accused the other of firing first.

CNN's Kocha Olarn contributed to this report.

 
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