An Ethiopian official says the country's military was provoked into launching an attack on Eritrean forces in a disputed border area.

Government spokesman Getachew Reda told reporters Tuesday that there was a "major military engagement" between Eritrean and Ethiopian forces that lasted from Sunday to Monday. He did not say how Ethiopia's military was provoked.

Eritrea said Sunday that Ethiopian troops had attacked its position in the Tsorona Central Front, a border area between the two countries that saw one of the bloodiest battles during their 1998-2000 border war.

Reda did not provide details about casualties.

The Ethiopian spokesman said that "I hope this time around they won't make that stupid mistake of inviting us to wage a full-scale war."

Ethiopia and Eritrea have no diplomatic relations.