By David E. Hubler
Special Contributor, In Homeland Security
A popular hotel casino in Manila was attacked by gunmen early Friday morning local time. Eyewitnesses said they heard gunfire and explosions and saw wounded and frightened guests and visitors fleeing the scene, the New York Times reports.
So far there are no reports of deaths at Resorts World Manila in the Pasay City neighborhood.
Tactical police units flooded the area and SWAT teams were on the ground.
“We’re in the area to verify the incident,” a police officer at the Pasay City Tactical Operations Center said. “We don’t know the casualties. It’s an ongoing operation.”
A spokesman for the Pasay Chapter of the Philippine Red Cross told the Manila Times that at least 25 people were injured and taken to hospitals. Some of them were injured when they jumped from the hotel’s second floor balconies to escape the shooting, Fernando Atienza, the team leader of the emergency response unit, told the Manila Times.
Atienza said the victims were rushed to San Juan de Dios Hospital in Pasay City and St. Luke’s Medical Center in Taguig City.
On its Twitter account Resorts Manila said that the hotel was “currently on lockdown following reports of gunfire from unidentified men” and “we ask for your prayers during these difficult times.” The hotel added, “The Company is working closely with the Philippine National Police to ensure that all guests and employees are safe.”
Resorts World Manila is currently on lockdown following reports of gunfire from unidentified men.
— Resorts World Manila (@rwmanila) June 1, 2017
Authorities have not yet said who or what group might be behind the attack. But Rita Katz, director of the Site Intelligence Group, which tracks extremist propaganda, wrote on Twitter that a Filipino operative of the Islamic State had said “lone wolf soldiers” of its caliphate were responsible.
— Rita Katz (@Rita_Katz) June 1, 2017
The Filipino military has been locked in a pitched battle since May against Islamist groups allied with the Islamic State on the restive southern island of Mindanao.
Resorts World Manila is the largest casino resort in the Philippines, according to its website.