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Bizarre Manila mayhem triggers DFAT warning

June 5, 2017 Headline News No Comments Email Email

A lethal gun attack and fire at Resorts World Manila, a luxury hotel and casino near Ninoy Aquino International Airport, has turned out not to be terrorism but the actions of a disgruntled former employee, according to latest news reports from the Philippines.

The attack on Friday, accompanied by gunshots and explosions, closed the casino and the airport. The Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) ordered the closure of the main gates of all four terminals and they remained closed for two hours.

The Islamic State terrorist group (ISIS) quickly claimed responsibility for the attack,  which killed 37 people, mainly from smoke inhalation. Manila police dismissed that claim.

Police later said Jessie Carlos, 42, a former employee of the Philippines’ Department of Finance, conducted the attack alone. He had major gambling debts and had recently been dismissed from the department for “misdeclaration or non-disclosure of assets and liabilities”, police said.

Police released graphic footage of the incident, showing the gunman at work.

During the bizarre attack, Resorts World Manila management declared that the hotel was in lockdown, “following reports of gunfire from unidentified men”. A gunman was seen running amok, setting gambling tables and the carpet on fire with petrol and stealing AUD 3 million worth of casino chips.

Philippines police said from the outset it was not an act of terror, but a case of robbery. They then announced that the gunman had set himself on fire and shot himself.

Police later found 37 dead bodies inside Resorts World Manila, including that of the gunman. The other bodies were those of patrons who had taken cover but were overcome by smoke.

Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) issued the following advice:

A security incident on 2 June 2017 at the Resorts World Hotel in Manila, near the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, resulted in a number of deaths and injuries. Ninoy Aquino International Airport is operational, contact your airline or tour provider to confirm your flight details. Exercise heightened caution. Be vigilant about your surrounds. Monitor the media for information that may impact on your security. The level of this advice has not changed. Exercise a high degree of caution in the Philippines overall. Higher levels apply in some parts of the country.

Written by Peter Needham

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