36 bodies found in Manila casino after shooting attack

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The Philippine military has rejected the Islamic State group's claim of responsibility for an attack on a Manila casino complex in which 36 people died.

Earlier Friday a gunman entered the Resorts World Manila complex and set fire to the gambling tables, unleashing smoke that authorities say killed 36 people.

The handling of the hostage crisis by Philippines police was criticized intensely at home and abroad, and the incident hurt the country's reputation overseas, particularly in Hong Kong, where most of the victims were from.

About rumors that ISIS or another extremist organization might be behind the incident, he said, "They can claim anything as part of their propaganda but we have to base our conclusion on evidence". However, ISIS has not released names or pictures of the alleged "soldiers" who carried out that attack, which they tend to do.

"Our police are already in the area", said a police officer at the Pasay City Tactical Operations Center, adding that SWAT teams were on the ground.

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. Police later searched a vehicle and found registration information which they haven't made public.

"There is no indication that this is a terror attack", Albayalde told reporters outside the casino. Security remains on "high alert" status, a statement from the airport said.

Police chief Oscar Albayalde said Friday the gunman carried a 2 liter bottle of gasoline, the gambling area was carpeted and the tables were also made of combustible materials.

He had stuffed chips totalling 113 million pesos ($2 million) in a backpack, but it was later recovered by police. He laid down on the bed, covered himself with a blanket, doused himself with gasoline and then set himself on fire, Dela Rosa said.

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"We are closely monitoring the situation and I will continue to give updates, anything happens, during this period of time", he said.

Police operatives were clearing the hotel floors from the 1st level to the 9th when they spotted the gunman who dashed from the 5th floor down to the 2nd floor.

Stephen Reilly, the Resort World's chief operating office, said "severe blood loss from the gunshot wound significantly slowed the assailant down and resulted in his holing up in a room where he took his own life".

He was found in the room of the fifth floor of the hotel-cum-casino, burned beyond recognition, next to a machine gun and a.380 calibre pistol, CNN reported.

Rescue personnel wait outside a hotel at the Resorts World Manila complex, early Friday, June 2, 2017, in Manila, Philippines. Some of the wounded were injured jumping from the hotel's second floor balconies to escape the shooting, the spokesman, Fernando Atienza, told the paper.

Witnesses also told about hearing what sounded like explosions.

The gunman did not hurt anyone but disappeared into the chaos of smoke and running people after stuffing a bag full of betting chips, leading to a manhunt throughout the casino, hotel and shopping complex that ended just after dawn.

Scenes at the Resorts World Manila where a lone gunman fired his weapon and set fire to casino tables, causing panic among guests.

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