Philippine TV says at least 34 bodies found at Manila casino resort (PHOTO) (UPDATED)
07:01 (GMT+4) At least 34 bodies were found at a casino resort in the Philippine capital after an attack by a gunman overnight and most of them had died of suffocation, the ANC news channel reported, quoting sources at the Bureau of Fire Protection.
Police said earlier the gunman's motive was likely robbery and that the incident was not terror-related. The gunman fired shots and set gaming tables alight, sparking panic at the resort, Reuters reported.
02:42 (GMT+4) A gunman burst into a casino, fired shots and set gaming tables alight in the Philippine capital early on Friday, sowing panic in a country on high alert after martial law was declared in the south, but police said the motive was likely robbery, Reuters reported.
National police chief Ronald dela Rosa told DZMM radio the lone gunman had not aimed his assault rifle at people at the Resorts World Manila entertainment complex, and may have been trying to steal casino chips.
Shots and loud bangs rang out shortly after midnight (1600 GMT) in the buildings close to Terminal Three of Ninoy Aquino International Airport and an air force base, prompting fears that a militant attack was under way.
Medical officials said at least 25 people were hurt, some seriously, as they rushed to escape.
"Don't panic, this is not a cause for alarm. We cannot attribute this to terrorism," police chief dela Rosa said.
"We are looking into a robbery angle because he did not hurt any people and went straight to the casino chips storage room. He parked at the second floor and barged into the casino, shooting large TV screens and poured gasoline on a table setting it on fire."
Police were in the complex searching for the gunman, whom dela Rosa described as "foreign-looking, a Caucasian, about six feet tall". The suspect may have escaped because smoke had obscured footage for CCTV cameras, he added.
22:26 (GMT+4) Explosions and gunshots were heard at an entertainment resort in the Philippines capital Manila early on Friday and armed police were deployed to the scene, local media reported.
Police and fire services could not immediately be reached for comment, Reuters reported.
Pictures circulated on social media of the resort, close to the city's airport, of plumes of smoke pouring out of a building.
A source at one of the resorts told Reuters employees were being evacuated and declined to give more details. He said police were now in full control of the situation.