Attacker sets fire in crowded Philippine casino, killing 36


Thirty-six bodies have been found inside Resorts World Manila, after an attack by a lone gunman who fired shots and set fire to gambling tables in the early hours of Friday morning, according to Philippines police.

This image made from closed circuit television made available by the Philippine National Police on Friday, June 2, 2017, shows the gunman at the Resorts World Manila complex in Manila, Philippines.

He fled with more than 2 million United States dollars (£1.5 million) in stolen casino chips, then forced his way into a room in an adjoining hotel and killed himself.

Authorities said the attack was not linked to terrorism. The violence unfolded as government forces were engaged in a second week of fighting against Islamic State group-aligned militants in the southern city of Marawi.

It was not clear how the gunman smuggled enough fuel into the crowded casino to cause explosions and what prompted Gen Dela Rosa to rule out terrorism so quickly. Dela Rosa stated at Friday's press conference in Manila that the police chased the gunman inside the building, and inside hotel room 510, the suspect poured gasoline on himself, got under covers on the bed, set the covers on fire, then put a gun to his head and pulled the trigger. Chips totaling $2.3 million were found in a backpack recovered by police, he added.

The bag of gambling chips worth 113 million pesos ($226,000) was found in a toilet.

The complex, which is described on RWM's website as "the first and largest integrated resort in the Philippines", is located across from Ninoy Aquino International Airport.

The ministry said the South Korean victim suffered an apparent heart attack while resting after the evacuation early Friday.

More than 50 people have been sent to a hospital to be treated for injuries.

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Gunshots and explosions rang out early Friday at a mall, casino and hotel complex near Manila's global airport in the Philippine capital, sparking a security alarm amid an ongoing Muslim militant siege in the country's south.

"For now, we can say that this is not an act of terror. I could not carry her".

Ronald Romualdo, a maintenance worker at Resorts World, said he and his colleagues heard gunshots and saw people smashing the windows on the second floor and third floor to escape.

"When we smelled smoke, we chose to go for the exit in the vehicle park".

As news of the attack spread, President Donald Trump offered America's thoughts and prayers to the Philippines.

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.

Speaking in the White House Rose Garden, Trump said he is "closely monitoring the situation" and will continue to provide updates.

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte declared martial law over the island of Mindanao in light of the crisis.

In Quezon City, one of the municipalities in metro Manila, Police District Director Guillermo Eleazar ordered all 12 police stations in the city to set up checkpoints and to maximize police visibility.