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Plane used in suicide tax attack

A software engineer furious with the US tax agency launched a suicide attack on it by crashing his small plane into an office building housing nearly 200 federal tax employees in Austin, Texas, and starting a fire.

At least one person in the building was missing and the pilot was presumed dead, authorities said.

The FBI tentatively identified the pilot as Joseph A Stack (53). Law enforcement officials said that before taking off, Stack apparently set fire to his house and posted a long anti-government rant online.

"I have had all I can stand," he wrote, adding: "I choose not to keep looking over my shoulder at 'big brother' while he strips my carcass."

The pilot took off in a single-engine Piper Cherokee from an airport in Georgetown, about 48km from Austin, without filing a flight plan. He flew low over Austin before crashing into the side of the hulking, seven-storey building just before 10am.

The Pentagon scrambled two F-16 fighter jets before it became clear that it was the act of a lone pilot, and President Barack Obama was briefed.