36 die from smoke in Philippine casino after gunman set fire

A masked gunman set fire to a gaming room at a casino in the Philippine capital on Friday, igniting a toxic blaze that killed 37 people, authorities said.

The attack took place in the early hours of Friday at the Resorts World Manila casino and hotel located in Newport City, a residential and commercial centre in metropolitan Manila.

According to Resorts World, the perpetrator took "his own life by setting himself on fire followed by a self-inflicted gunshot wound". None of the bodies had gunshots, authorities added.

In addition to taking the gambling chips, Dela Rosa said, the gunman shot an LED monitor and set furniture on fire.

It was not clear how he smuggled the petrol and rifle into the crowded casino.

The man left the room and went upstairs to the hotel section, but left the backpack, according to Dela Rosa. The gunman fled with $2 million in stolen casino chips, then forced his way into a room in an adjoining hotel and killed himself.

President Rodrigo Duterte's efforts to reassure outsiders of the safety of the Philippines would be "an uphill battle", he said, adding that the attack may have exposed intelligence and security failures.

He stuffed chips totaling 113 million pesos ($2.3 million) in a backpack, which police later recovered, he said.

The official said the person likely suffered a heart attack but an autopsy would be carried out to determine the cause of death.

The Malaysian embassy in Manila is monitoring the incident with local authorities, the foreign ministry said in a statement.

The injuries of survivors testified to the terror inside the casino, many were hurt breaking windows and jumping from the second floor to escape the fire and smoke. "At this time, we have more important things to look at and that's the security of our staff and the patrons of the building".

(Philippine National Police via AP). Amateur video and pictures from inside the Resorts World Manila entertainment complex showed people in panic and in shock.

"But it is really very sad as to what is going on throughout the world with terror".

An earlier SITE report quoted an "IS operative" confirming the group's role in the attack on the encrypted messaging app Telegram.

"We see no terrorism in this act", the spokesperson 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.

Philippine police say the suspect in the attack on a hotel and casino complex near Manila's airport has been found dead of apparent suicide.

The smoke came from a fire started when a gunman set light to gasoline that he had poured on poker tables in the casino in Resort World - a sprawling mall complex that also encompasses a Marriott hotel and luxury shops, five minutes' walk from the capital's worldwide airport.

(AP Photo/Aaron Favila). Policemen walk past a still smoldering part of a hotel at the Resorts World Manila complex, early Friday, June 2, 2017, in Manila, Philippines.

  • Salvatore Jensen