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Cambodian Official: Thai Troops Cross Border in Temple Dispute


A Cambodian official says 40 troops from Thailand entered Cambodia Tuesday in the latest flare-up of a territorial dispute over an 11th century Hindu temple.

Hang Soth, the Cambodian official who manages the Preah Vihear temple, said the troops crossed the border hours after three Thai activists were arrested for illegally entering Cambodia to reach the ruins. The activists have since been released to Thai authorities.

Thai military officials deny their troops crossed the border into Cambodia. They say their troops have been deployed to the nearby area.

They also say one Thai soldier lost his leg to a landmine while on patrol near the temple.

The temple sits along the Thai-Cambodian border, and each side has long claimed the site as its own. The International Court of Justice granted sovereignty of the temple to Cambodia in 1962.

Thailand's foreign minister, Noppadon Pattama, resigned last week, following a controversial decision he made to endorse Cambodia's bid to the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization to designate the temple as a World Heritage Site.

Thailand's Constitutional Court ruled last week that the endorsement should have first been approved by the legislature. The decision also had opposition lawmakers calling for Noppadon's impeachment.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.