What we know about the Philippine resort attack and how it unfolded

The deaths were confirmed with local police by Taiwan's representative office in Manila, the ministry said, adding that it is in contact with the victims' families and is offering them travel assistance.

Authorities reportedly said earlier that 35 people had been found dead at Resorts World Manila in the casino area after a lone gunman fired shots and set fire to gaming tables early Friday morning.

He said the man then fired again at a stock room containing gambling chips and filled a backpack with them. They died from suffocation and smoke inhalation.

"He lay down on the bed, covered himself with a thick blanket, apparently poured petrol on the blanket and burned himself", Dela Rosa said.

A second "person of interest" who was at the casino at the time was cooperating with the investigation, police said.

The statement, according to CNN, said "Islamic State fighters" carried out the attack.

The violence unfolded as government forces were engaged in a second week of fighting against militants aligned with IS in the southern city of Marawi.

Authorities rejected the Isis claim, suggesting the motive was robbery even though he apparently abandoned the stolen chips in a toilet soon after.

Early Friday, Philippines National Police Chief Ronald Dela Rosa reportedly said the suspect ransacked a room, stealing casino chips totaling 113 million pesos ($2.3 million) and stuffing them into a backpack, which was later recovered by police.

But police chief Ronald dela Rosa said: "We can not attribute this to terrorism without concrete evidence".

Relatives and friends of victims grieve as they receive news of their loved ones at a hotel at the Resorts World Manila complex, Friday, June 2, 2017, in Manila, Philippines.

The attack sent panicked crowds fleeing from the site.

Police were examining a vehicle that the gunman left in a complex parking garage, authorities said.

ISIS later provided the gunman's "nom de guerre" and said he killed and injured almost 100 "Christians" during the rampage.

Around 1 p.m.: Resorts World Manila sets up a help desk and announces hotline numbers.

More than 50 other people were reported injured as they rushed to escape, officials said.

In addition to those who died, more than 70 people suffered mostly minor injuries in the stampede to escape, according to the AP. While the incident did not take place in our hotel, we have increased security at our property.

"One of the employees told me that the suspect began pouring the contents of (a) bottle on one of the tables and lit it on fire", Dones said.

He said the woman was not moving afterwards, but he did not know what happened to her.

President Donald Trump in remarks at the White House referred to the Manila incident as a terrorist attack.

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.

"This is a very hard time for all of us here in Resorts World Manila", the statement said.

The attack comes as the Philippines grapples with ISIS linked militants in the city of Marawi. Trump said he was "closely monitoring the situation".

  • Leroy Wright