Artillery fire boomed across the Thai-Cambodian frontier for a seventh day Thursday as fierce border clashes erupted again between the two neighbours.

Loud explosions could be heard since dawn in Phanom Dongrak, a village about 12 miles (20 kilometres) from the border, an Associated Press reporter said.

In Cambodia, field commander Col. Suos Sothea said the fighting was centering again around the ruins of two crumbling stone temples from the Khmer Empire at Ta Moan and Ta Krabey, which have been caught in crossfire since last Friday.

The skirmishes over contested territory have killed at least 14 people and forced tens of thousands of civilians on both sides to flee their homes.

The border dispute has stirred nationalist sentiment on both sides, but analysts say domestic politics may also be fueling the conflict, especially in Thailand, where the military that staged a coup in 2006 could be flexing its muscles ahead of elections due in June or July.

On Wednesday, Cambodian leader Hun Sen accused Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva of loving war and provoking the conflict, but said he still wants to talk peace with him at an upcoming regional meeting in Indonesia.

Cambodia employed truck-mounted rocket launchers for the first time Tuesday, in what Hun Sen said was retaliation for Thailand’s use of heavy weapons.

Abhisit, meanwhile, said his government is not willing to have a meeting of the two countries’ defense ministers unless there is a ceasefire first.

“If they want to talk, the easiest way is to stop the firing,” Abhisit told Parliament after visiting injured civilians in Surin province in the northeast.

The conflict involves small swaths of land along the border that have been disputed for more than half a century. Fierce clashes have broken out several times since 2008, when Cambodia’s 11{+t}{+h}-century Preah Vihear temple was given U.N. World Heritage status over Thailand’s objections.

Talks with Cambodia have apparently become a divisive issue within the Thai government, with the military dragging its feet while Abhisit takes a more conciliatory position.

The Thai army has already stymied a plan to station Indonesian military observers along the border. Hun Sen said Wednesday that Cambodia would welcome them on its side of the border regardless of any delays by Thailand.

Indonesia, which currently chairs the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, offered to provide the observers after four days of border fighting in February.

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