- The Sun, wires
- News Corp Australia Network
A MASKED gunman burned himself to death after an attack upon a hotel complex in Manila, which has left at least 37 people dead, according to police.
An official statement from Resorts World Manila in the Philippine capital described the attack as the “cowardly act of a deranged mind” and spoke of “several casualties” and injuries to 54 others.
“Thirty-six deaths, this is due to suffocation,” Manila police chief Oscar Albayalde told CNN Philippines. (The death toll was revised after he spoke.)
IS claimed responsibility for the attack shortly after it began around midnight, local time.
However police said they considered robbery was the motive and that the gunman was a foreigner.
Smoke rises from the Resorts World Manila complex. Picture: APSource:AP
They say a gunman stormed a crowded Manila casino and used gasoline to set gambling tables on fire, creating clouds of smoke that swept through the crowds and killed at least 36 people. They say the gunman fled with $2 million in stolen casino chips, then forced his way into a room in an adjoining hotel and killed himself.
Authorities suspect the man was trying to rob the casino at the Resorts World Manila and stress they have found no evidence of terrorism. The man carried no identification but left his car, which was being searched.
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.
Most of the victims were women who suffocated to death in the bathroom.
The suspect fired at police officers pursuing him before he set himself on fire inside a room at the Resorts World Manila, said Director Oscar Albayalde, the capital’s regional police chief.
He killed himself, at room 510,” he told Manila radio station DZBB.
“He fired at our men. Our assessment is he burned himself. He committed suicide.”
He shot up a TV screen, burned gambling tables and stuffed a backpack with casino chips before he took his own life, police said.
A Filipino operative for the Islamic State group, in a quick communique, took responsibility for the attack shortly after it began.
But national police chief General Ronald Dela Rosa said there is no concrete evidence that the attack was terror-related. Instead, the man broke into a stock room containing gambling chips and filled a backpack with them.
The man then left the room and went upstairs to a hotel section of the complex, according to Dela Rosa.
Security officers and onlookers gather outside the hotel complex.