Last update - 11:33 05/12/2001
BANGKOK - An anti-tank rocket struck a Bangkok building housing the office of El Al Israel Airlines on Wednesday, but police said the incident appeared unrelated to the conflict in the Middle East.
Police said no one was killed or injured in the blast and that security had been stepped up at the Israeli embassy in as a precaution.
Bangkok Police Chief Anan Piromkaeu told reporters that an unidentified assailant fired an M72 anti-tank rocket, which hit and damaged the Tesco Lotus supermarket before exploding in a nearby building housing El Al's offices at 6.30 a.m. (2330 GMT Tuesday).
Israeli embassy security officials at the scene said they were investigating the attack, but declined to comment. El Al staff could not be reached on Wednesday, as the office was closed for the king's birthday public holiday.
The rocket grazed the Tesco supermarket and exploded on the fourth floor of the Manorom Building on Rama IV road in which El Al has a ticketing office on the 14th floor, shattering windows.
"It looks like an intimidating act," Anan said. "Police believe that it involved a business conflict."
He said police found the rocket's launch mechanism on the ground near the Tesco store and were investigating the possibility the rocket was aimed at the supermarket and had overshot its mark.
Another police officer told a Reuters reporter at the scene that police believed the rocket was aimed at the Tesco store.
"We don't know yet, but we think the Tesco Lotus department store was the target," the officer said. "We have had trouble with bombings at some of the Tesco stores before."
Local radio stations speculated that the attack may have been the result of a dispute between security companies contracted by the store.
What the hell???