Gunfire, blasts hit Philippine casino; terror ties doubted

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The attack happened at Resorts World Manila. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)

Gunshots and explosions rang out early Friday at a mall, casino and hotel complex near Manila's international airport in the Philippine capital, sparking a security alarm amid an ongoing Muslim militant siege in the country's south.

Philippine national police chief said robbery may have been a motive in casino attack and terror links are doubtful.

Police rushed to the Resorts World Manila complex early Friday after gunshots rang out at the complex, where smoke began billowing from an upper floor of the building.

Resorts World Manila said in its Facebook account that "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 policemen have not given details about the incident but have begun cordoning 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 is unfolding amid a 10-day deadly siege by Muslim militants aligned to the Islamic State group in the southern city of Marawi. The attack has sparked fears that the militants may attack elsewhere to divert the focus of thousands of troops trying to quell the siege.

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