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Resorts World Manila: At least 36 bodies found at casino complex

Resorts World Manila: At least 36 bodies found at casino complex

Philippines police and private security secure the vicinity of the Resorts World Manila hotel and casino complex in Pasay City, south of Manila, Philippines 2 June 2017. Resorts World Manila: At least 36 bodies found at casino complex

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EPA

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The Resorts World Manila complex is under tight security following the shooting

At least 36 bodies have been recovered from a casino and hotel complex in the Philippines capital, Manila, where a lone gunman opened fire overnight.

Most of the dead appear to have suffocated after the man set fire to casino tables, local media reported.

The gunman began by shooting at TV monitors in Resorts World Manila in the early hours of Friday morning sending terrified patrons fleeing.

Police said he later killed himself by setting himself on fire.

The incident sparked a security lockdown and authorities initially said there were no casualties, but appear to have only found the bodies while sweeping the complex after the gunman's body was recovered.

Officials insisted that the incident was a robbery attempt, and was not terror-related despite an apparent claim by the so-called Islamic State group.

How did the attack unfold?

The man, who has yet to be named, entered the casino shortly after midnight and began shooting at television screens with an assault rifle, police say.

The shooting sparked widespread panic but police have repeatedly insisted that he did not appear to be shooting directly at patrons in the casino.

He also set gaming tables on fire and filled a backpack with gambling chips worth 113m Philippine pesos (£1.7m, $2.3m).

The man later fled to the hotel section of the complex, leaving behind the backpack, and entered a hotel room.

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

The shooting sparked a security lockdown and a manhunt in the complex, which ended when his body was found.

Resorts World Manila said in a statement that the man also shot himself after setting himself on fire, and that he was found dead around 07:00 local time (23:00 Thursday GMT).

Who was the gunman?

Authorities have indicated that the man may have had mental health issues.

Manila police chief Oscar Albayalde told reporters that it was "a simple robbery and most likely it was done by a demented person".

Resorts World Manila has called the casino shooting a "cowardly act of a deranged mind".

Police have released CCTV photos of the man to local media, showing him dressed in black and carrying his rifle.

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Philippine Police

Image caption

The man was seen on CCTV in a stairwell within the casino complex

How did so many people die?

Police and fire authority officials have told various news outlets that many people appeared to have suffocated from thick smoke caused by the fire.

Those who escaped the casino have described the smoke that was filling the complex.

One woman told AFP that she had received a call from her daughter as the attack happened.

"Our daughter called us past midnight saying she was in the VIP section of the casino and there was smoke and they were suffocating," Gil Yongco said.

More than 50 people have been sent to a hospital to be treated for injuries.

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