At least 37 people have been killed after a ‘white, English-speaking’ masked gunman targeted a casino in Manila.
The gunman set fire to tables before he ‘burned himself to death’ after stealing £1.7m worth of betting chips.
Many of the victims are believed to be women and are thought to have suffocated from smoke inhalation as crowds battled to escape the venue.
Although Islamic State are trying to claim responsibility, the national police in the Philippines insisted that it was a ‘robbery gone wrong’, reports the Daily Mail.
It’s reported by witnesses that the gunman was carrying an assault rifle and entered the Resorts World casino, in Pasay City, shortly after midnight.
The man poured fuel over tables and set them alight while gamblers fled for their lives.
Explosions were also heard coming from the area, which is a tourist hot-spot, and bloodied victims were stretchered out of the building.
It was confirmed 13 employees and 22 guests were among the dead.
Before police had confirmed any motive, US President Donald Trump branded it a ‘terrorist attack’:
It is really very sad as to what is going on throughout the world with terror.
Our thoughts and our prayers are with all of those affected.
Stephen Reilly, Resorts World Manila COO insisted that only one gunman was involved:
We reiterate that there was only one gunman involved in this senseless, senseless attack.
On behalf of the victims, families, and loved ones, we request everyone from spreading hurtful speculation and false information.
The gunman managed to escape police due to the thick smoke and disappeared into the complex, leading to a manhunt that lasted ’til dawn.
Around seven hours after the attack began, police confirmed the gunman had killed himself by wrapping his body in a thick blanket on a bed in a hotel room and dousing himself in gasoline.
Philippine authorities swept through the burnt casino after the siege, reportedly finding at least 37 bodies and taking 54 people to hospital.