Witnesses report gunshots and explosions at Resorts World Manila in Philippines

Claudine Rigal
Juin 2, 2017

"He would have shot all the people gambling there" if it had been terrorism, said the national police chief, Gen. Ronald dela Rosa.

PNP-National Capital Region spokesman Chief Inspector Kimberly Molitas said in a statement that the gunman has been identified and relayed news that some people may have died due to suffocation.

Smoke was seen billowing from the upper story of the complex's hotel wing hours after the initial assault as police worked to clear the resort room by room.

CNN reported large police presence and fire trucks on the scene.

The Resorts World complex is located opposite one of the terminals of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, the main airport in the country.

Early local reports and witness accounts of the incident stoked fear that a terror attack might have struck the country's capital city.

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

Officials said at least 30 people were hurt, some seriously, as they rushed to escape. "People were screaming, guests and employees were in panic", Navaro said.

Prior to making his Rose Garden announcement this afternoon that the United States was exiting from the Paris Climate Agreement, President Donald Trump touched on a few other subjects before getting to the big news.

Police surrounded the complex following the reports of the gunfire, which occurred just after midnight.

"I can confirm that shots were fired", Resorts World official Stephen James Riley, told reporters. "Some hotel guests said someone yelled "ISIS", Maricel Navaro, an employee of Resorts World, told DZMM radio.

"But one woman I was trying to save fell from the second floor".

"US citizens should be mindful of the importance of taking preventative measures to ensure their safety and security while traveling and residing in the Philippines", the U.S. embassy said. The AP was working to confirm those reports.

The police chief says none of the dead bodies had gunshot wounds.

Earlier, the SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors terrorist Internet activity, said a Filipino operative linked to the Islamic State claimed that "lone wolf soldiers" carried out the attack.

She said authorities' main concern was to protect people trapped in the resort and police officers on the scene.

Thousands of residents have fled the city, and at least 140 people have been reported killed there since the siege began last week.

The unrest has boosted fears that the Islamic State group's violent ideology is gaining a foothold in the country's restive southern islands, where Muslim separatist rebellions have raged for almost half a century. "It's really very sad what's going on throughout the world with terror", he added.

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte declared martial law over the island of Mindanao in light of the crisis.

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