Thais in heavy fighting with force from Cambodia

Thailand was reported Monday to have used F-5 Phanton fighters and helicopter gunships to help repulse an intrusion by a striking force from Cambodia. Western diplomatic sources said Thai infantry and tanks, backed by the aircraft, were engaged in heavy fighting against a force of between 1,200 and 1,700 troops which launched attacks against border refugee camps just before dawn.

the intruders, believed to be mainly Vietnamese, were reported to be holding two refugee encampments and two villages on the Thai side of the border. The attack, backed by tanks and an artillery bombardment, appeared to be in retaliation for the voluntary repatriation of refugees to Cambodia. The Vietnamese-backed Cambodian government in Phnom Penh has denounced the refugee move as a maneuver to send in reinforcements to its enemies.

Reports said about 1,000 Cambodian refugees out of about 175,000 in the camps had been killed, but this could not be immediately confirmed.

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