A terror attack Thursday night at the Resorts World Manila hotel in the Philippines killed 37 people, who all died of smoke inhalation. Another 54 people were taken to the hospital for treatment.
The lone gunman first went on a shooting spree about midnight, creating two hours of panic, in which he reportedly stole about $2.3 million worth of betting chips, then poured gasoline onto tables in the casino area and set them on fire.
After police shot and wounded the suspect, he eventually holed up in one of the hotel rooms, and killed himself by wrapping his body in a blanket on a bed, dousing it with gasoline and setting himself on fire.
Mass panic erupted as people were trying to get out of the building, many suffocating in the smoke as they struggled to get to the exits.
Local police insisted the suspect was just a “white gambler” who was mad at the casino, denying the incident was linked to terrorism, but instead, just a robbery gone bad. They theorized that since the gunman hadn’t actually shot anyone, it wasn’t really a terror attack.
ISIS has clarified that, by claiming responsibility for the attack, and publishing the name of the attacker – Abul-Khayr al-Arkhabili.
Their statement read: “100 fatalities and injuries among Christians in an attack in Manila.”
“With God’s help, our brother Abul Khayr al-Arkhabili managed to hide with his machine gun among a group of Christians, who fight Islam, inside a Resorts World resort in Manila, Philippines, where he opened fire on them, killing and injuring about 100 of them, until he, eventually, died as a martyr.”
President Trump had been quick to label the incident a terrorist attack, even while local police were still calling it a botched robbery.
Police Chief Ronald dela Rosa claimed there was no evidence to support that it was terrorism. “He would have shot all the people gambling there’ if it had been terrorism,” he stated.
Even the presidential spokesman, Ernesto Abella, said, “all indications” pointed toward it being a criminal act by an “apparently emotionally disturbed individual.”
“Although the perpetrator gave warning shots, there apparently was not indication that he wanted to do harm or shoot anyone. The 34 deceased all died to suffocation,” Abella alleged.
However, a message distributed by an ISIS-related group said the intent was to burn the casino, because the activities there are forbidden by Islam.
Still, dela Rosa said they can’t attribute this to terrorism “without concrete evidence.” “Don’t panic, this is not a cause for alarm. We cannot attribute this to terrorism,” he said. “We are looking into a robbery angle because he did not hurt any people and went straight to the casino chips storage room.”
In multiple news videos, most call it a robbery attack, or a burglary gone wrong.
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