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Gunfire, Explosions Reported at Manila Resort

By VOA News June 01, 2017

Gunshots and explosions have been reported at Resorts World Manila, a hotel located in Pasay, just south of the Philippines capital.

According to media reports, at least one gunman opened fire on guests and employees inside the hotel, seriously injuring several people. Pictures posted on social media showed smoke pouring out of the building.

Armed police and rescue services were deployed at the scene. The hotel posted a note on Twitter that it was under lockdown and "working closely with the Philippine National Police to ensure that all guests and employees are safe.

Though no one immediately claimed responsibility for the incident in Pasay, it came as the Philippine military has been battling Islamic State-linked militants in the southern city of Marawi.

The violence in Marawi erupted last week when security forces tried to arrest Isnilon Hapilon, the so-called leader of Islamic State in the Philippines. The militants responded by taking over parts of Marawi and seizing hostages.

Hapilon is wanted on terrorism charges by the United States, which has offered a $5 million reward for his arrest.

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte vowed earlier Thursday to "wipe out" the IS jihadists in Marawi.

"If it's war, my orders really are to wipe them out, everyone," Duterte said. "When I say wipe them out, better if you shoot him in the head, shoot it again in the heart, just to be sure."

So far, the fighting in Marawi has killed at least 120 militants, 30 security forces and 24 civilians. Government officials have disclosed one their airstrikes meant to hit Islamic State militants in Marawi instead killed 10 Philippine soldiers and wounded seven others.

The errant bombing was one of several military airstrikes on Wednesday as troops on the ground tried to dislodge the militants.

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