Tuesday, July 17, 2018
News Roundup

Security video shows methodical gunman in casino attack (w/video)

MANILA, Philippines — Security footage shows the man responsible for one of the Philippine capital's deadliest attacks in years casually exiting a taxi just after midnight and walking calmly into a vast entertainment and gambling complex like any other visitor.

Shortly afterward, he dons a black ski mask, slips on an ammunition vest and pulls an M4 carbine assault rifle out of his backpack.

What follows borders on the surreal: a slow-motion arson attack and robbery so methodical and unhurried, the gunman appears to walk much of the way — even as he exchanges fire with security forces and flees, slightly wounded, up a stairwell.

The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the early Friday rampage at the Resorts World Manila complex. At least 37 patrons and employees died, mostly from smoke inhalation as they tried to hide, while the gunman fled to an adjoining hotel and reportedly killed himself.

The video footage shown to reporters Saturday, though, bolsters the government's case that this was a botched robbery by a lone attacker with no known link to terrorism.

In his first remarks on the assault, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said that the attacker was simply "crazy." He also discounted any links to the Islamic State group, saying this "is not the work of ISIS. The work of the ISIS is more cruel and brutal."

Despite some initially contradictory accounts of the chaos, what is known so far appears to back up that claim.

Although the attacker was well armed — Manila police chief Oscar Albayalde said he was carrying 90 bullets in three rifle clips — there are no confirmed reports that he shot any civilians. Instead, he fired into the ceilings, scattering panicked crowds, some of whom jumped out windows to escape what they believed to be a terror attack.

Albayalde said the security footage also indicated a clear motive. The gunman headed straight for a storage room in the back of the casino that contained poker chips.

More than 12,000 people were in the complex at the time; most were successfully evacuated.

"He could have shot everybody there," Albayalde added. "He could have killed hundreds of people inside that establishment. But he did not shoot anybody … he just burned the casino. Burning the casino could be a diversionary tactic for his escape."

By nightfall Saturday, the gunman's identity was still unknown.

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