- Gunman sets fire to Resorts World Manila casino floor
- Attacker fled to hotel room and set himself alight before shooting himself
- ISIS claims responsibility for attack, but authorities say attack was attempted robbery by mentally unstable man
There are at least 36 dead at a casino resort in the Philippine capital Manila after an attack by a gunman who also started a fire at the complex.
It happened in the early hours of Friday morning at the Resorts World complex where most of the dead are said to have suffocated from toxic fumes caused by the fire.
The attacker is reportedly dead after setting himself on fire. Local police have so far claimed the attack was an attempted robbery, and not related to terrorism. However, ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attack.
The initial reports by authorities suggested there were no fatalities, but bodies appear to have been found on a sweep of the building, after the gunman was found dead.
How did it happen?
Resorts World Manila is currently on lockdown following reports of gunfire from unidentified men.
— Resorts World Manila (@rwmanila) June 1, 2017
The attacker entered the casino at just after midnight local time and began firing shots and setting table games on fire. The fire was not particularly widespread, but the smoke caused by rugs and carpets may have been responsible for many of the deaths.
It was seven hours later that the man was found, following a pursuit, reportedly having set himself ablaze before also shooting himself.
Police have told the BBC that no victims had gunshot wounds. It has been reported that people were also injured in the crush to leave the building, as well as jumping from upper floor windows.
The man stuffed a backpack with gambling chips worth 113m Philippine pesos ($2.3 million) before leaving the casino, entering a hotel room within the complex, laying down on a bed, covering himself with a blanket upon which he poured gasoline and set fire to himself.
CCTV released of gunman
Police put out images of the gunman, apparently sitting in the stairwell and holding what looks like an automatic rifle.
At this stage, there are conflicted reports on the identity of the attacker. Some have said that he spoke English very well, and may have had a Caucasian appearance, leading to speculation he was a foreign national.
Local authorities appear to be suggesting that the man may have been mentally disturbed.
Of the dead, 13 are believed to be employees, while 22 were guests. The gunman’s death brings the total to 36 fatalities.
This cowardly act of a deranged mind will not defeat the spirit on which Resorts World Manila was built.
Resorts World Manila statement
The aftermath of the attack
A help desk has been set up at Career Hub 1, G/F NECC building. You may reach us at these hotline numbers: 0917-8728300 and 0917-8728756. pic.twitter.com/BVKtrOc8JT
— Resorts World Manila (@rwmanila) June 2, 2017
The AFP news agency has reported a woman who received a call from her daughter while the attack was ongoing. “Our daughter called us past midnight saying she was in the VIP section of the casino and there was smoke and they were suffocating,” she said.
The chief operating officer of Resorts World Manila, Stephen Reilly, has said that fire safety equipment was working correctly and that there was “proper ventilation”.
The total number of people hospitalized currently totals 50.
Resorts World Manila has released hotline numbers for those concerned for missing friends and relatives. The numbers are 09178788721, 09178788108, 09178728583, 09178788576, 09178728518, 09178728187, 09178728192 and 09178728772.
Resorts World Manila is a partnership between the Asian gambling giant Genting Hong Kong, part of the Genting Group and Filipino firm Alliance Group Global.
The resort has four hotels, casino gambling areas, entertainment, shopping, cinemas, clubs and a theater.
Its total casino gaming space amounts to 323,000 sq ft, which is about the same as the second largest casino in the whole of the US, the Foxwoods resort in Connecticut.
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