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Shooting and Explosions Erupt at Casino Resort in Manila

A police officer at the Pasay City Tactical Operations Center said SWAT teams were at the resort. ” “We don’t know the casualties,” the officer said. “It’s an ongoing operation.”

Local news media reported that explosions had been heard coming from the vicinity of the hotel, which is across a road from the city’s international airport.

Resorts World Manila is the largest casino resort in the country, according to its website.

“We have evacuated the building to make sure that our patrons and our staff are safe,” Stephen Reilly, the resort’s chief operating officer told reporters. “At this time that’s the only information I can give you. The building is totally in lockdown state, until we completely clear the area.”

Mr. Reilly said he could not confirm the number of assailants involved in the attack, or if they had yet been captured or killed.

Asked if the attack resulted from a lapse in security, Mr. Reilly said “that will be investigated later.”

The authorities have not yet confirmed who may 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” were responsible.

Since May, the country’s military has been locked in a pitched battle against Islamist groups allied with the Islamic State on the restive southern island of Mindanao. President Rodrigo Duterte declared martial law there and warned that terrorist incidents could spread through the country.

The Mindanao fighting has been centered around the city of Marawi, where thousands of residents have fled amid the mayhem. Clashes escalated last week between the security forces and members of the Abu Sayyaf extremist group who have aligned themselves with the Islamic State.

The military advanced into Marawi after having received reports that Isnilon Hapilon, an Abu Sayyaf leader who has declared fealty to the Islamic State, had been spotted in the area.

Source: NYT > World

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