Reports of gunshots and explosions at a mall, casino and hotel complex located near Manila’s international airport in the Philippine capital are coming in Friday. The attacks have sparked a security alarm amid an ongoing militant siege in the country’s south. At least 25 people have been injured after masked gunmen began shooting inside a resort.
Philippine authorities raced to the Resorts World Manila complex early Friday after gunshots and explosions were reported and smoke began pluming from an upper floor of the building. At least 25 have been injured.
Witnesses said they saw terrified guests leaping from the second floor of the hotel, according to the Manila Times.
The complex’s Facebook account said that it was “currently on lockdown following reports of gunfire from unidentified men,” adding “the company is working closely with the Philippine National Police to ensure that all guests and employees are safe.”
“We ask for your prayers during these difficult times,” the company said.
Philippine officials have not provided details about the incident but have begun sectioning off the area near the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.
“I heard many, many gunshots,” Julio Silva, a witness who managed to dash out of the mall complex, told DZMM radio network.
The incident comes amid a 10-day deadly siege by Muslim militants aligned to the Islamic State group in the southern city of Marawi. The attack has spurred fears that the militants may attack additional locations to divert the attentions of thousands of troops attempting to put the siege down.
Hotel guests were seen streaming out of the building in panic.
ISIS has since claimed “lone wolf soldiers” from the terror group carried out the attack – which happened at around midnight local time.
Resorts World Manila
Resorts World Manila houses the Newport Mall, a shopping center open until midnight daily in addition to gaming areas occupying three floors in its main casino, featuring table games, slot machines and electronic games. Newport Mall is home to 53 shops, 29 restaurants and food stalls, and four cinemas.
It formally opened on July 2015 the Marriott Grand Ballroom. Touted as the largest hotel ballroom in the Philippines, its main feature is a 3,000 sqm pillarless ballroom that can seat up to 2,500 people for a banquet event, and up to 4,500 for a concert setup. The resort is owned and operated by Travellers International Hotel Group, Inc. (TIHGI)
Manila, the capital of the Philippines, is a densely populated bayside city on the island of Luzon, which mixes Spanish colonial architecture with modern skyscrapers. Intramuros, a walled city in colonial times, is the heart of Old Manila. It’s home to the baroque 16th-century San Agustin Church as well as Fort Santiago, a storied citadel and former military prison.