Bangkok: At least seven Cambodian and five Thai troops died in three days of heavy exchange of fire between Thailand and Cambodia on their disputed border, officials said on Monday.
 
A Thai Army Ranger was killed on Sunday, said a Thai military spokesman in the border area, Colonel Prawit Hookaew. One more Cambodian soldier was also killed on Sunday, Cambodian Field Commander Suos Sothea said.

"One of our soldiers was shot dead by a Thai sniper last night... during a patrol," he said, adding another Cambodian soldier had been missing since Friday. "We have not yet located him."

Thai and Cambodian soldiers were locked in a tense standoff at the border on Monday but fighting appeared to have abated after three days of cross-border shelling that began on
Friday.

It is the first serious outbreak of hostilities since February when 10 people were killed in clashes near the 900-year-old disputed temple Preah Vihear, prompting the UN Security Council to call for a lasting ceasefire.

The latest fighting has been taking place near different groups of temples about 150 kilometres away.

The two neighbours have fought a series of deadly gunbattles in recent years in the jungle near ancient temples along the border, which has never been fully demarcated, partly because it is littered with landmines.

Agencies