Killer ‘a ter­ror­ist -- not a rob­ber’

Sunday Times - - WORLD -

A GUN­MAN who stormed and torched a Manila casino, killing 36 peo­ple, was a “lone wolf” ter­ror­ist, a top Philippines leg­is­la­tor said yes­ter­day, con­tra­dict­ing the po­lice’s as­ser­tion that the man had merely wanted to steal gam­bling chips.

The gun­man, whose iden­tity was still un­known, po­lice said, killed him­self in a ho­tel room af­ter be­ing shot by se­cu­rity of­fi­cers at the Re­sorts World Manila en­ter­tain­ment com­plex.

A sec­ond “per­son of in­ter­est” who was in the casino at the time was co-op­er­at­ing with the in­ves­ti­ga­tion, po­lice said.

Pan­ta­leon Al­varez, speaker of the lower house of Congress and a close ally of Pres­i­dent Ro­drigo Duterte, said he was not con­vinced the in­ci­dent was a crim­i­nal case of armed rob­bery and ar­son.

“This is a clear ex­am­ple of a ‘lone wolf’ ter­ror­ist at­tack tar­get­ing civil­ians to in­flict max­i­mum loss of life and dam­age to prop­erty, as what has hap­pened in other coun­tries,” Al­varez said.

Is­lamic State claimed re­spon­si­bil­ity for the at­tack, but that was rejected by Philippines of­fi­cials, who said it ap­peared to have been a botched rob­bery.

The at­tack at the casino ho­tel com­plex, which is close to an air­port terminal and air­force base, lasted more than six hours. —

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