At around midnight yesterday, Philippines time, the sounds of gunfire and explosions erupted at the popular Resorts World Manila. There are conflicting reports as to whether the attack was either a robbery gone bad or a terror related incident. ISIS has claimed responsibility, despite police denying terrorist involvement due to evidence on the scene. Thirty-seven people died in the attack, mainly due to smoke inhalation as the lone gunman had set fires throughout the casino building. At least 70 other people were injured in the attack.
This ongoing incident is part of a larger problem plaguing the Philippines in recent days. The city of Marawi is currently under siege by an estimated 500 ISIS linked militants, Marawi is on Mindanao island, in the south of the country, where a sizable Islamic population resides. The casualties at Marawi are in the hundreds, a plane accidentally bombed Filipino soldiers as they were attempting to halt the terrorists, eleven were killed and seven were injured. The militants attacking Marawi include local Filipinos, but at least eight foreign fighters have been identified, from nearby countries such as Indonesia and Malaysia and far away locations including Yemen and Chechnya. 3,000 Filipino soldiers, as well as support, are currently attempting to drive out the militants.
While it is not yet certain if these two attacks are connected, it is a possibility. These situations highlight the instability in the Philippines, as President Duterte has declared martial law due to the Marawi incident. The siege, and possibly the incident at the resort, also highlight that ISIS attacks have no borders, and do not only target those in the West, they are truly engaged in a global war.
Philippine Information Agency