Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte talks to soldiers during a visit to a military camp in Zamboanga, Sibugay in southern Philippines June 2, 2017. Presidential Palace/Handout via REUTERS
By Karen Lema
MANILA (Reuters) – Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said on Saturday that Islamic State militants were not behind the attack on a casino in the capital that killed at least 36 people, supporting a police assessment that it was merely a botched robbery.
The gunman who burst into the Resorts World Manila entertainment complex early on Friday, firing shots, setting gaming tables alight and killing dozens, all suffocating in thick smoke, had been labelled by a top lawmaker as a “lone wolf” terrorist.
“That is not the work of ISIS,” Duterte, using an acronym for Islamic State, told reporters in Cagayan de Oro city where he was visiting troops. “The work of ISIS is more cruel and brutal, they would simply kill people for nothing.”
Clips from the casino CCTV, which police and officials at Resorts World released on Saturday, showed the gunman was firing shots at the ceiling and setting gaming tables and slot machines ablaze.
The gunman, whose identity remains unknown, was caught on camera purportedly stealing casino chips worth 113 million pesos($2.27 million) from a storage room before he was later found by security officers, who shot and wounded him during an exchange of fire.
“Why would you steal plastic you won’t be able to use?” Duterte said. “That guy is crazy.”