Security Measures Boosted in Manila Following Deadly Attack on Casino Complex

The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the attack, AFP reported.

Rejecting the claim, police said there was "no truth" to the assertion.

At least 34 people died and about 50 others were injured, mainly due to smoke inhalation, the ministry said in a statement. 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. However, ISIS has not released names or pictures of the alleged "soldiers" who carried out that attack, which they tend to do.

Philippine authorities have said they suspect the man was trying to rob the casino and that there was no evidence it was a terrorist attack.

Philippine government forces have been battling ISIS-linked militants on the southern island of Mindanao for control of the city of Marawi for more than a week.

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

In a statement, Resorts World Manila said there was "no lapse in the security inside the establishment" and praised staff for helping to contain the incident.

Resorts World Manila is located near the Ninoy Aquino Airport.

Although Islamic State are trying to claim responsibility, the national police in the Philippines insisted that it was a "robbery gone wrong", reports the Daily Mail.

Dela Rosa said the gunman only fired at a television screen and did not take aim at any people.

He said that the assailant, who appeared to be a foreigner because he spoke English and looked Caucasian, was found just before dawn in a hotel room after committing suicide.

Apolinario said that during the attack the gunman had engaged in a "firefight" with casino employees. The bag of gambling chips worth 113 million pesos ($226,000) was found in a toilet.

"He lay down on the bed, covered himself with a thick blanket, apparently poured gasoline on the blanket and burned himself", Dela Rosa said.

According to security footage viewed by police, the gunman entered via the parking lot.

Hundreds of guests and employees rushed out of the resort after the gunman began shooting on the second floor, hotel employees fleeing the scene told CNN Philippines.

Family members of employees spent hours waiting for news of their relatives, hoping through the night that they had survived.

Earlier Friday, the mood was tense and emotional as friends and family of employees waited outside the casino in Pasay City on the southern outskirts of Manila near the city's global airport. He said the woman was not moving after she fell, but he didn't know what happened to her. "We were able to save many of them", he said.

The IS claim, which came almost 24 hours after the attack, also contradicted a statement from Ernesto Abella, a spokesman for President Rodrigo Duterte, who said there was no evidence linking it to fighting between government troops and Islamist militants in the country's south.

"It is really very sad as to what's going on throughout the world with terror", Trump said at the White House before announcing that the United States was leaving the Paris climate accord.

  • Jack Mann