TEMPO.CO, Manila - ISIS militant group claimed on Friday that its fighters carried out an attack on a casino in the Philippine capital Manila that ignited a fire which killed 37 people.
"ISIS fighters carried out the attack in Manila in the Philippines yesterday," the group's self-styled Amaq news agency said. Manila police initially did not suspect a terrorist act.
A gunman stormed a crowded Manila casino early Friday and used gasoline to set gambling tables on fire, creating clouds of smoke that killed at least 37 people, police said. The gunman fled with more than $2 million in stolen casino chips, then forced his way into a room in an adjoining hotel and killed himself.
Authorities suspect the man, who has not yet been identified, was trying to rob the casino at Resorts World Manila, a complex of hotels, restaurants, stores and a sprawling multi-floor gambling area.
The gunman who set fire was likely is allegedly a foreigner, the Manila police chief said. “He looks Caucasian, he talks English, he’s big and he’s white, so he’s probably a foreigner,” Manila police chief Oscar Albayalde told reporters.
According to a Reuters report, the Philippine police said on Friday they were looking at a “person of interest” in connection with the attack. Tomas Apolinario, chief of Manila’s southern police district, said the person was still alive and was believed to be a Philippine national.
REUTERS | CHOIRUL AMINUDDIN