At least 35 dead in Philippines resort attack

Nick Mcbride
June 3, 2017

Relatives Friday were rushing to funeral homes to claim the bodies of victims who police said died after a gunman attacked a casino in Manila, setting fire to gambling tables.

He then holed himself up in his hotel room to commit suicide after being shot by police, who launched a five-hour manhunt to find the gunman.

The suspect fled with more than $2 million in stolen casino chips but dumped them in a toilet soon after.

"Either he lost in the casino and wanted to recoup his losses or he went totally nuts", Metropolitan Manila police chief Oscar Albayalde said.

Claims on social media said the attack was done by "lone wolf soldiers" of the Islamic State group, but police noted the man didn't shoot anyone he encountered.

The only gunshot wound was to a guard at the complex, who shot himself accidentally when the suspect entered the room, authorities said.

The Philippines' National Police Chief Ronald dela Rosa spoke to reporters after Trump's remarks and said there was no evidence of terrorism. He added the authority would instruct shopping malls and hotels to be stricter with their security and that protocols would be reviewed.

Many in Manila feared after the attack began early Friday that it was linked to ongoing battles with Muslim militants aligned with the Islamic State group in the southern city of Marawi.

He squeezed off shots from an M4 assault rifle at TV screens, poured gasoline on gambling tables and set them on fire during a robbery attempt that turned into a toxic inferno.

He lay down on the bed, covered himself with a blanket, doused himself with petrol and set himself on fire, Mr dela Rosa said.

"Until any actual proof emerges that ISIS or any other terrorist actor had a role in what police have described as a non-terrorism-related attack, one has to be skeptical of the ISIS claim", Cruickshank said, adding that Abou al-Kheir al-Arkhebieli would likely be a nom de guerre.

A casino attack that left over a dozen people killed should not affect investments in the country, the head of President Rodrigo Duterte's economic team said Friday.

A South Korean died of a possible heart attack suffered during the evacuation, the country's Foreign Ministry said.

Ronald Romualdo, a maintenance worker at Resorts World, said he and his colleagues heard gunshots and saw people smashing the windows on the second and third floors to escape.

Friends and relatives of the victims expressed anger at what they said was poor security at the casino. The gunman, they say, then went into a room where he took his own life. "I could not carry her".

Officials say the dead include at least 13 employees and 22 guests of the Resorts World Manila. It is really very sad as to what's going on throughout the world with terror.

As news of the attack spread, President Donald Trump offered America's thoughts and prayers to the Philippines.

Dela Rosa and other police chiefs insisted the assailant was not carrying out a terrorist attack, pointing out that he did not shoot anyone, and said it appeared to be a weird robbery attempt by a "deranged" man. The SITE Intel Group, which monitors jihadi activity worldwide, revealed that an ISIS operative in the Philippines had said that the group was responsible for the attack.

This story has been corrected to show that the dollar value of the stolen chips was more than $2 million, not $200,000.

Other reports by VgToday

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