Philippine police seek casino attacker's identity; 36 dead

Nick Mcbride
June 3, 2017

Philippines government forces are now fighting ISIS-linked militants on the southern island of Mindanao, where the two sides have been battling for control of the city of Marawi for over a week.

The IS group's self-styled Amaq news agency carried a brief message in Arabic on Telegram, which said: "Islamic State fighters carried out the attack in Manila in the Philippines yesterday".

"The only other individual who sustained a gunshot wound was the security guard who accidentally shot himself", Abella noted.

"He burned himself inside hotel room 510", national police chief Ronald dela Rosa told a news conference.

Dela Rosa said security footage showed the gunman ignoring a guard who tried to question him at the complex's entrance, then going straight to the casino.

It was not clear how the gunman smuggled gasoline and an assault rifle into the crowded casino or what prompted dela Rosa to cast doubt on terrorism so quickly.

Dela Rosa said the suspect covered himself with blanket, used gasoline to torch himself.

The security guard shot was the waist by the gunman and about 75 others suffered mostly minor injuries such as bruising as they stampeded to get out, said police officer Jeffrey Francisco.

Evacuated employees watch as smoke billows from Resorts World Manila casino in Philippines. The bag of gambling chips worth 113 million pesos ($226,000) was found in a toilet.

Officials said at least 54 people were hurt, some seriously, as they rushed to escape what was at first was believed to have been a militant attack. More than 70 people were injured.

Jeri Ann Santiago, who works in the emergency room at the San Juan de Dios hospital, close to Resorts World, said 13 people were being treated, but more were on the way.

"We have some injured people and we have some dead as well, but none of them have gunshot wounds", he said. As in Friday's incident, numerous dead were killed when they became trapped on an upper floor of the building by the blaze, which began when sparks from welding work set alight chemicals in nearby containers.

Hotel employees told CNN a masked gunman was firing at hotel guests from the second floor. "I could not carry her".

After confirming with the Philippine authorities, Taiwan's representative office in Manila was told that four of the bodies found at the resort were identified as Taiwanese nationals, the ministry said.

A woman cries as she stay outside a hotel at the Resorts World Manila complex, early Friday, June 2, 2017, in Manila, Philippines.

ISIS has claimed responsibility for an attack at a casino in the Philippines capital that left more than 37 people dead, despite repeated police claims it was not terror related.

Speaking at the White House Rose Garden to discuss the U.S.' withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement, Trump said: "I would like to begin by addressing the terrorist attack in Manila".

A USA intelligence official reportedly said that "a laugh went up" in the Situation Room after Trump spoke.

President Rodrigo Duterte imposed martial law last week across the southern region of Mindanao to crush what he called a rising threat from IS. 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.

Resorts World Manila is a resort complex in Newport City, a residential and commercial center in Manila.

"Khilafah" refers to the caliphate that IS says it created in Iraq and Syria.

Other reports by VgToday

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