Hotel Attacks

1 June 2017 – Initial coverage of Manila resort attack

The Enquirer, a Philippines-based news outlet, reports that just after midnight on Thursday (Friday, 2 June, Manila Time), that either a single gunman or a group of gunmen attacked the Resorts World Manila complex in Newport City, a section of Manila. Initial casualty figures by The Manila Times are 25 wounded.

Gunshots were heard on video posted on Channel News Asia, and smoke was coming from one of the main buildings. Reports said a man (or men) dressed in black and wearing masks assaulted the complex with firearms and set parts of a building on fire.

Photos from The Sun indicate the attack might have included a car bomb.

The complex is currently on lockdown, and first responders – medical, fire, and SWAT – are at the scene.

The Daily News and The Sun both report that ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attack. The former quoted the SITE Intelligence Group as the source for the claim.

Resorts World Manila is a complex of shopping venues, eateries, hotels, and casinos next to Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3. Travellers International Hotel Group, Inc. (TIHGI) owns and operates the complex. TIHGI is a joint venture between Alliance Global Group and Genting Hong Kong. The complex is made up of:

  • 4 hotels (Maxims Hotel, Marriott Hotel Manila, Remington Hotel, and Belmont Hotel Manila)
  • 4 bars
  • 8 restaurants
  • a mall
  • a performing arts theater
  • a movie theater

This attack is happening amidst a major one-week and ongoing clash between the ISIS-linked Maute group and government forces in Marawi City, reports The Manila Times. The fighting has trapped Over 2,000 citizens in the crossfire. The Philippine military announced that the ISIS fighters in Marawi could either surrender or die fighting.

The Philippines has a multitude of groups that have joined ISIS and conducted operations on its behalf over the past many months. Muir Analytics has reported on them here, and here.

The initial five takeaways regarding this attack are as follows: First, this attack appears to be a single person or a group raid, a common hotel attack tactic.

Second, weapons are reportedly a firearm (possibly an assault rifle) and maybe a car bomb, plus it appears that arson was applied.

Third, the culprit(s) seem to be an ISIS-linked, Philippine-based group, exact faction unknown (there are several; see Muir Analytics reporting here.)

Fourth, the attack might be associated with the ongoing Philippine Army operation against the ISIS-linked Maute Group in Marawi City.

Fifth, if the latter is true, this would appear to be a hybrid operation where Maute is engaged in a light infantry battle in Marawi and is simultaneously attacking Manila with a terror attack.

Expanding on this latter point, this attack might also be part of the Islamist jihadist ideology that insists that attacks during Ramadan (26 May – 24 June 2017) afford the attackers and their families forgiveness of all sins and immediate access to heaven. Moderate Muslims believe this is blasphemy and reject these radicals.

Additionally, this attack on Resorts World Manila could be part of more attacks in the Philippines to come. It would be no surprise in light of wider Islamist attacks happening around the world during Ramadan in places such as Iraq, Afghanistan, and the like.

This cursory analysis will change as new information comes in.

Sources and further reading:

UPDATE 2: Dozens injured in Resorts World shooting,” The Manila Times, 2 June 2017.

ResortsWorld Manila on lock down due to gunfire, explosions,” The Enquirer, 2 June 2017.

Explosions, gunfire reported at Resorts World Manila,” Channel News Asia, 2 June 2017.

Gunman opens fire at Resorts World Manila, ISIS claims responsibility,” The Daily News, 2 June 2015.

HOTEL UNDER ATTACK: ‘ISIS’ gunmen storm Resorts World Manila hotel and shoot terrified guests as explosions heard inside and people leap off balconies in desperate bid to save themselves,” The Sun, 2 June 2017.

Surrender or die, Maute told,” The Manila Times, 31 May 2017.

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