At least 36 people huddling in a hotel room died of suffocation Friday after a lone gunman set gaming tables on fire at a Philippines casino resort in what authorities said was a botched robbery and not terrorism.
He said the assailant, who appeared to be a foreigner because he spoke English and looked Caucasian, was found just before dawn in a hotel room having committed suicide.
A man carrying a rifle burst into the Resorts World building near Manila's worldwide airport and shot at TV screens, set tables on fire with petrol and stuffed a bag with gambling chips.
MOFA said the victims had been identified, while their relatives would be assisted in flying to the Philippines.
Unverified posts on the social media app Telegram said "lone wolf soldiers of the Khilafah attack the heart of the Kufar in Manila".
"There hasn't been anyone shot", police chief Ronald dela Rosa said on DZMM radio, adding there was no indication yet it was a terrorist incident.
Police saw no connection to almost two weeks of fighting with Muslim militants aligned with IS in the southern city of Marawi. He then barged into the crowded casino carrying the gasoline and assault rifle after overcoming efforts by guards to stop him.
Dela Rosa said the suspect covered himself with blanket, used gasoline to torch himself.
Authorities said those who died had quickly become disorientated and unable to find exits. A bag of gambling chips worth $2.3 million was found in a toilet.
The attack sent panicked crowds fleeing from the site. More than 50 people were reportedly treated in hospitals for various injuries and smoke inhalation.
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The resort, a popular tourism destination, said in a statement on Facebook that it was trying to inform families of the dead and will offer assistance.
"We took out a ladder to save them".
In a statement, Resorts World Manila said there was "no lapse in the security inside the establishment" and praised staff for helping to contain the incident.
"I am very anxious".
A police officer at the Pasay City Tactical Operations Center said SWAT teams responded to the shooting, according to The New York Times.
About 90 minutes after the attack began, Resorts World Manila said on its Facebook page that it was on lockdown following reports of gunfire and it was working to ensure the safety of guests and workers.
"This is a sad day for Resorts World Manila", it said.
Like most Manila casinos and hotels, Resorts World had metal detectors at its entrances and typically checked vehicles before allowing them access.
Police and a spokesman for the country's president said the attacker was not thought to be a terrorist, despite continuing trouble with Islamic extremists in the country's south.
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