MANILA (CBS / AP) — At least three people were transported to hospitals from a resort in Manila following reports of gunfire and explosions at the hotel and casino complex in the Philippine capital.
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.
Metropolitan Manila police chief Oscar Albayalde says the English-speaking suspect was found dead with his rifle on the fifth floor of the Resorts World Manila complex. He says the gunman apparently killed himself.
Police are searching the suspect’s car, parked on the second floor. Before the attack, he got out of the car and entered the building with his rifle.
Abayalde says the guards at the door ran away after seeing the armed man.
The suspect took 113 million pesos ($226,000) worth of gambling chips, which were found in a bag he was carrying.
Abayalde says there was no indication of terrorism. He says either the suspect lost in the casino and wanted to get his money back, or went “totally nuts.”
“We ask for your prayers during these difficult times,” the Resorts World Manila said.
The U.S. State Department urged people to avoid the area.
The incident happened while, in the southern part of the country, Philippine troops were struggling to end a bloody siege by hundreds of extremists aligned with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana told a news conference earlier in Manila that about 500 militants, including foreign fighters, joined the siege of Marawi, a mosque-studded city that is the heartland of the Islamic faith in the southern Philippines.
About 50 to 100 militants were putting up the strongest stand in buildings across a bridge from Marawi’s city hall, where hundreds of reinforcement troops were deployed. Snipers and buildings that obstructed cannon fire were making it difficult for troops to end the siege, said Lorenzana, who had wanted to end the crisis by Friday.
A total of 120 militants have been killed in the fighting since May 23, when a failed government raid to capture one of Asia’s most-wanted militants, Isnilon Hapilon, triggered the siege of the city by the rebels. Twenty-five of the dead militants have been identified as Filipinos, according to military officials. Eight others were foreign fighters, including a Chechen, a Yemeni and several Malaysians and Indonesians, Lorenzana said.
President Rodrigo Duterte said he ordered troops to “wipe them out, everyone.”
“If you shoot him in the head, shoot him again in the heart to be sure,” the tough-talking Duterte said in a speech.
At least 25 soldiers, five policemen and more than 24 civilians have been killed in the clashes, Lorenzana said.
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