Gunman storms Philippine casino, police suspect robbery

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At least 36 guests and staff were killed while 80 more got injured in Manila after a gunman torched a hotel complex on Friday.

At around midnight local time Thursday, an armed suspect forced his way into the Resorts World Manila (RWM), an upmarket hotel and casino complex near the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.

The attack produced suffocating smoke which proved fatal to numerous hotel's patrons and employees.

As the gunman left, he did exchange shots with a building guard, who managed to shoot him in the leg after being wounded, police and casino officials said.

During the attack, the gunman engaged in a firefight with casino employees, police said.

Earlier, Malacañang has clarified that the incident was not terrorism and not at all related to the Marawi City crisis, where government forces continue to pursue Islamic militants who have pledged allegiance to the Islamic State.

The magazine also encouraged fighters to use fire to carry out terrorist attacks, noting that flammables are "a quick option for anyone intending to join the just terror campaign".

The police chief said 18 of the 54 injured people were in the hospital, while others sustained only minor injuries.

As news of the attack had spread, President Donald Trump offered the thoughts and prayers of the American people to the Philippines. He did not hurt the guard but went straight to the gambling area, dela Rosa said.

The suspect took 113 million pesos ($226,000) worth of gambling chips, which were found in a bag he was carrying. Resorts World security and police pursue the gunman who is able to climb to higher hotel floors.

Police said one gunman fired at an LED screen at the resort and lit a table on fire but did not shoot anyone.

The Philippines has been on heightened alert amid a crisis in the city of Marawi, in the south of the country, where troops have been battling Islamist rebels since May 23 and martial law is in place. "Before we exited, we heard two gunshots and there was thick smoke on the ground floor", Navaro said.

Resorts World Chief Operating officer Stephen Reilly said the gunman was dressed in combat gear and fired a number of shots as he entered the building.

But Dela Rosa told reporters after Trump spoke that there was no indication of terrorism.

"The company is working closely with the Philippine National Police to ensure that all guests and employees are safe", the statement read.

Tragedy struck Resorts World Manila on Friday morning.

"We are doing our very best to inform the families of the victims", the resort said in its latest statement.

"He would have shot all the people gambling there" if it had been terrorism, said Dela Rosa. A total of 36 people were found dead, besides the perpetrator, who committed suicide.

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