Police said earlier the man's motive was likely robbery and that the incident at the Resorts World Manila complex in Manila was not terror-related.
Police said earlier the man's motive was likely robbery and that the incident at the Resorts World Manila complex in Manila was not terror-related.

At least 36 people were killed after a gunman burst into a Manila casino, firing shots and setting gaming tables alight, Philippine media reported on Friday, in what officials said was a robbery attempt.

Police said the unidentified gunman had killed himself after firing at armed officers searching the still-smoking Resorts World Manila entertainment complex hours after the attack that began shortly after midnight (1600 GMT).

Many of the dead suffocated in the chaos as guests and staff tried to flee choking smoke at the complex, according to a report by ANC News channel, quoting Bureau of Fire Protection sources.

More than 50 people were hurt, some seriously, as they rushed to escape what at first had been feared as a militant attack at the Resorts World Manila complex.

Daesh claimed responsibility for the attack, according to a statement on the group's Amaq news agency.

TRTWorld's Nicholas Morgan reports.

Resort owner Travellers International Hotel Group Inc said authorities were still seeking details.

"We have been informed of several casualties, the number and identities of whom have yet to be determined," it said in a statement.

Around dawn, the body of the suspected gunman was found in a hotel room in the complex, which is close to Ninoy Aquino International Airport and an air force base, police said.

"He burned himself inside the hotel room 510," national police chief Ronald dela Rosa told a media conference. "He lay down on the bed, covered himself in a thick blanket and apparently doused himself in gasoline."

Officials said at least 50 people were hurt, some seriously, as they rushed to escape what at first had been feared as a militant attack.

Dela Rosa told DZMM radio the lone gunman had not aimed his assault rifle at people and may have been trying to steal casino chips.

"Don't panic, this is not a cause for alarm. We cannot attribute this to terrorism," dela Rosa said.

"We are looking into a robbery angle because he did not hurt any people and went straight to the casino chips storage room. He parked at the second floor and barged into the casino, shooting large TV screens and poured gasoline on a table setting it on fire," he said.

Before the gunmen had been killed and police had confirmed any motive, Daesh claimed responsibility and US President Donald Trump also branded the incident a
Before the gunmen had been killed and police had confirmed any motive, Daesh claimed responsibility and US President Donald Trump also branded the incident a "terrorist attack".

Jeri Ann Santiago, who works in the emergency room at the San Juan de Dios hospital, said patients were suffering the effects of smoke inhalation and some had injuries such as fractures. None had gunshot wounds, she said.

Kimberly Molitas, a spokeswoman for the capital's police office, said 113 million Philippine pesos ($2.27 million) worth of casino chips stolen during the raid had been recovered.

"Please help pray for the injured and the loss of lives due to suffocation," she said in a message to reporters.

The Philippines has been on heightened alert amid a crisis in the south of the country, where troops have been battling rebels since May 23.

President Rodrigo Duterte declared martial law on the southern island of Mindanao last week.

Dela Rosa said there had been no specific, credible terror threat in Manila so far.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies