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Death toll of Cambodia's hotel fire rises to 26, as search operation ends

PHNOM PENH, Dec. 30 (Xinhua) -- The death toll in a hotel fire in northwest Cambodia's Banteay Meanchey province has risen to 26, as a search and rescue operation was completed, officials said on Friday evening.

"A total of 26 people were pronounced dead, and 57 others got injured in the blaze, as the search operation is over," Sek Sokhom, director of the Banteay Meanchey provincial information department, told Xinhua.

He said the dead included 17 Thais, one Nepalese, one Malaysian and seven unidentified bodies.

The fire broke out Wednesday midnight at a hotel in Poipet, a city that borders Thailand.

An electrical short circuit was the likely cause of the fire, Sokhom said.

Cambodian Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen on Friday expressed condolences to the victims and urged authorities and high-rise building owners to strengthen fire safety and response.

He also thanked Thailand for sending its emergency personnel to join the search and rescue operation.