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Rocket fired at Bangkok building

Thai police
Thai police stand guard outside the Manorom Building  

BANGKOK, Thailand -- An anti-tank rocket has struck a Bangkok building housing the office of El Al Israel Airlines, but Thai police have said the attack appeared unrelated to Mideast conflict.

Officials are searching for an attacker after a long-range anti-tank weapon was fired from the back of a black pickup truck at about 6 a.m. local time (6 p.m. ET) around the 15-story Manorom Building on Rama IV road, police told CNN.

The building houses a ticketing office of Israeli carrier El Al Airlines on the 14th floor and police say security had been stepped up at the Israeli embassy as a precaution.

Israel launched air strikes on Palestinan areas this week in retaliation for suicide bombings by Palestinian militants.

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There were no immediate claims of responsibility.

Bangkok Police Chief Anan Piromkaeu told Reuters that the rocket hit and damaged the Tesco Lotus supermarket and then hit the fourth floor of the Manorom Building, which houses a largely empty car park, shattering windows.

Thai police say they believe the attacker may have been targeting the supermarket, partly owned by the British chain Tesco, which has been embroiled in a commercial dispute and has received bomb threats.

There were no casualties but some damage to the facade of the Manorom building, which is situated on one of the main thoroughfares of the Thai capital.

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Damage was restricted to shattered windows
Damage was restricted to shattered windows  

The truck had been parked in an alleyway about 300 meters from the Manorom building, when the missile was launched, witnesses told CNN.

Police said no one was inside the building at the time of the sunrise attack because it was a national holiday marking the 74th birthday of Thai King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

Police said an attacker would not have to be an expert to shoot this kind of weapon, as they can be easily bought on the black market around the Cambodia-Burma border.

This would be the first time in decades that such an armed attack has taken place in Bangkok, a largely peaceful city.


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