At least 34 dead in Manila casino attack

Elias Hubbard
June 3, 2017

Gil Yongco rushed to the complex when his daughter Hazel Anne, a casino employee, called early Friday.

The man ransacked a room and stole gaming chips, Philippine National Police Chief Ronald Dela Rosa said. A gunman stormed a mall-casino complex in the Philippines, torched gambling tables and stuffed a backpack.

Earlier in the day, the SITE Intelligence Group had reported that a "Filipino ISIS operative" said the militant group's "lone wolf soldiers" were responsible for the attack - though that report appears to have been contradicted by Philippine authorities.

(AP Photo/Aaron Favila). Bomb sniffing dogs walk outside a hotel at the Resorts World Manila complex, early Friday, June 2, 2017, in Manila, Philippines.

Police said they were also looking for a "person of interest" who is believed to be a Philippine national. A follow-up statement from the group's east Asia division referred to only one attacker - whom it named as Abou al-Kheir al-Arkhebieli - and boasted about the number of "Christians killed or wounded" before he "took his life". Emy Subi, whose cousin Rogie Subay was killed, said she wanted to sue the resort.

A statement released by ISIS' Amaq news agency said "Islamic State fighters carried out" the attack. He did not hurt the guard but went straight to the gambling area, dela Rosa said. He then barged into the crowded casino carrying the gasoline and assault rifle after overcoming efforts by guards to stop him.

He lay down on the bed, covered himself with a blanket, doused himself with petrol and set himself on fire, Mr dela Rosa said. The armed suspect forced his way into the casino around midnight, said witnesses and police.

Police were examining his auto, which he left in a complex parking garage, authorities said.

This story has been corrected to show the currency conversion on the value of the stolen chips to be more than $2 million, not $200,000.

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

Ronald Romualdo, a Resorts World maintenance worker, said he and his colleagues heard gunshots and saw people smashing windows on the second and third floors to escape. While the incident did not take place in our hotel, we have increased security at our property.

"One of the employees told me that the suspect began pouring the contents of (a) bottle on one of the tables and lit it on fire", Dones said.

"I got her bag so her family will know what happened to her", he said. In Washington, President Donald Trump said he was monitoring "the terrorist attack in Manila". "A very hard time for all of us here at the Resorts World Manila", he said.

President Rodrigo Duterte declared martial law on the southern island of Mindanao last week and warned it could become a haven for supporters fleeing Iraq and Syria.

The unrest in Marawi has sparked fears that militants might attack elsewhere to divert the focus of thousands of troops trying to quell the siege. "We can not attribute this to terrorism".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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