Philippine police seek casino attacker’s identity

MANILA, Philippines — Philippine police know the attacker was a tall, English-speaking white man with a moustache. They know he carried an assault rifle, and that he used gasoline to start a casino fire that caused clouds of smoke that left at least 36 people dead this morning in a sprawling entertainment complex in Manila.

By later in the day, police still didn’t know the man’s name, or why he launched his attack, only to flee to an adjoining hotel and kill himself.

Authorities suspect the man was trying to rob the casino at Resorts World Manila, a complex of hotels, restaurants, stores and a multi-floor gambling area. He fled with more than $2 million in stolen casino chips, though he apparently threw them into a toilet soon after.

“Either he lost in the casino and wanted to recoup his losses or he went totally nuts,” Metropolitan Manila police chief Oscar Albayalde said.

Many in Manila feared in the moments after the attack began early today that it was linked to ongoing battles with Muslim militants aligned with the Islamic State group in the southern city of Marawi. But while a Filipino with links to the Islamic State group said on social media that “lone wolf soldiers” from the group were behind the attack, police noted the man didn’t shoot anyone he encountered.