Army says police in control of situation at Manila entertainment resort

Dela Rosa said, in addition to firing gunshots, the attacker used gasoline to set gambling tables on fire.

More than 70 people suffered mostly minor injuries in a stampede to escape.

Social media was abuzz with pictures showing plumes of smoke emanating from the Resort World Manila, which is close to the city's airport. The gunshots, he said, were not aimed at people in the room. He did not hurt the guard but went straight to the gambling area, dela Rosa said.

US President Donald Trump Thursday expressed sadness and sympathy for victims of what he labelled a "terrorist attack" at a casino in the Philippines capital Manila.

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

The attack sent hundreds fleeing into the night and produced an immediate claim of terrorism from an Islamic State-affiliated operative, according to USA terror monitors.

Police chief Ronald Dela Rosa ruled out terrorism as the motive of the attack as the suspect neither threatened nor harmed civilians.

The large resort complex is popular with tourists and features hotels, restaurants, bars, the casino, the shopping mall and a theater.

As authorities struggled to ascertain what was happening at the resort complex, there were conflicting reports about what motivated the attack and whether more than one gunman was involved.

Police cordoned off the area near the Ninoy Aquino International Airport shortly after the attack began, according to the AP.

A policeman stands by outside the Resorts World Manila complex.

President Rodrigo Duterte declared martial law there and warned that terrorist incidents could spread through the country.

"We ask for your prayers during these hard times", it wrote on Twitter.

Security forces are still battling the militants in Marawi, and the clashes there have left at least 171 people dead. The BBC reported that "a spokesman for the Philippines' Army has said police are in control of the situation, and the military is monitoring it closely".

"I could smell some kind of smoke that came from an explosive device", said Tikos Low, who said he was in the resort's casino along with a few hundred other people, when the attack began.

Police chief dela Rosa said it was possible militant group Islamic State would claim responsibility for the incident for propaganda purposes.

  • Leroy Wright