Kin rush to funeral homes to see Manila dead

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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.

At least 37 people died after a gunman burst into a Manila casino, firing shots and setting gaming tables alight, a police official said on Friday (June 2).

Four Taiwanese citizens were among the 35 people who died of suffocation during an attack on an entertainment complex in the Philippines capital Manila, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) confirmed Friday. A masked gunman stormed a hotel-casino complex in the Philippine capital early Friday. Police also said video footage indicated that he had not deliberately fired at people in the casino. The room was carpeted and the tables were combustible, he said, and all the bodies were found in the smoky gambling room.

"Most of the victims were women who were found dead inside the bathroom", Southern Police District Director Superintendent Tomas Apolinario told CNN.

The attack, which sent hundreds fleeing into the streets during the night, prompted a claim of responsibility from the Islamic State group, but police said there was no evidence to support terrorism and believed robbery was the motive.

Firefighters break windows to release smoke from the Resorts World Manila complex.

The SITE Intelligence Group, a United States terrorism monitor, said an IS-linked Filipino operative who provides daily updates on the clashes in Marawi claimed "lone wolf soldiers" of IS were responsible for the attack.

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It was not clear how he smuggled the petrol and rifle into the crowded casino. They recovered gambling chips worth over $2 million from the gunman's backback.

Numerous dead suffocated in the chaos as guests and staff tried to flee choking smoke at the complex.

"We took out a ladder to save them". 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. "I could not carry her".

Two of the Taiwanese casualties were employees of the casino, a man and a woman both surnamed Lai, while the two others, a couple surnamed Hung, were tourists, reports said. Trump said he was "closely monitoring the situation" and would continue to provide updates.

An English message by the operative was distributed across several pro-IS Telegram chat groups, SITE said.

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.

Trump, before announcing the United States was leaving the Paris climate agreement, opened the event by saying "our thoughts and our prayers" are with those affected by the "terrorist attack in Manila".

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