Casino attack should not hurt investments: finance chief

An English-speaking white man entered the casino at the Resorts World Manila complex in the capital early yesterday.

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.

MANILA Security experts and patrons at a Philippines casino on Friday expressed alarm at the apparent ease with which a lone gunman was able gain entry to the building before opening fire and starting a blaze that killed more than 30 people.

Philippines government forces are now fighting ISIS-linked militants on the southern island of Mindanao, where the two sides have been battling for control of the city of Marawi for over a week.

ISIS later provided the gunman's "nom de guerre" and said he killed and injured almost 100 "Christians" during the rampage. More than 35 people died from smoke inhalation.

Reportedly, the US President Donald Trump hastily termed the Manila casino shooting as a terrorist attack.

The gunman, whom dela Rosa described as "white, with a mustache", about 6 feet tall and English speaking, fled the gambling area and barged into a room on the 5th floor of Maxims Hotel, which is part of the Resorts complex. The bag of gambling chips worth 113 million pesos ($226,000) was found in a toilet.

Philippine police rushed to the Resorts World Manila complex early Friday after gunshots rang out at the complex, where smoke began billowing from the upper floor of the building.

President Rodrigo Duterte imposed martial law last week across the southern region of Mindanao to crush what he called a rising threat from IS. The armed suspect forced his way into the casino around midnight, said witnesses and police.

"We are aware of the reports of gunfire at the Resorts World Manila", spokesman Jeff Flaherty said in the statement.

Islamic State, on the other hand, released a statement claiming that its "fighters carried out" the attack.

Manila police Chief Oscar Albayalde told reporters that police think it is likely that the suspect was a foreigner.

Rejecting the claim, police said there was "no truth" to the assertion.

Dela Rosa and other police chiefs insisted the assailant was not carrying out a terrorist attack, pointing out that he did not shoot anyone, and said it appeared to be a weird robbery attempt by a "deranged" man.

In the hours after the attack, the jihadist group said "lonewolf soldiers" carried out the assault, according to the SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors terrorist organizations.

The attacker also ransacked a room and stole gaming chips, Philippines National Police Chief Ronald Dela Rosa told CNN Philippines.

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

  • Leroy Wright