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• A third 'bomb' has also been found nearby
• Toll could rise as emergency operations continue
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The blast happened at around 7pm local time in Ratchaprasong, a road intersection and shopping district near the Erawan Shrine.
Photos posted online showed car windows smashed and debris littering the streets as the area was cordoned off by emergency services.
The Thai national police chief told Reuters India it had been caused by a bomb but no further details were immediately available.
Spokesperson Lt Gen Prawut Thavornsiri told the AFP news agency: "I can confirm it was a bomb, we can't tell which kind yet, we are checking."
The Erawan is popular shrine to the Hindu god Brahma but is visited by thousands of Buddhist devotees every day, as well as tourists.
Additional reporting by ReutersReuse content