Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has dismissed speculation that the so-called Islamic State orchestrated an attack on a casino in Manila on Friday that left at least 37 people dead. Speaking in the south of the country on Saturday, Duterte said the attack was the work of a “crazy” man, not the terror group. Attacks by ISIS are “more cruel and brutal,” he said, offering his first public comments on the attack at the Resorts World Manila complex. “They would just simply kill people for nothing. Not even for a reason,” he said. He described the casino attacker as “crazy” for stealing casino chips that he knew he wouldn’t be able to use. His comments come as government troops continue to battle ISIS-linked insurgents in the southern city of Marawi, where they seized buildings and took hostages late last month. One of Duterte’s allies, lawmaker Pantaleon Alvarez, earlier warned of a possible link between the casino attack and fighting in Marawi, describing the casino fire as a terrorist act committed by a “lone wolf” inspired by jihadist ideology. The gunman, who has not yet been identified, entered the casino complex on Friday morning before setting fire to gambling tables, fleeing with $2 million worth of casino chips, and reportedly killing himself in an adjoining hotel room. At least 37 people were killed as the fire ravaged the casino.
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