A resort and casino complex in the Philippine capital Manila is on lockdown after reports of gunfire and explosions from the area.

Images and videos posted on social media on Thursday evening (Friday morning local time) showed emergency medical workers giving several injured people first aid.

Witnesses interviewed by local media said there were several attackers wearing masks and black shirts. Contrary to statements from witnesses, Ronald dela Rosa, the Philippine police chief, said authorities were looking for only one armed man.

SITE intelligence monitoring agency quoted a "Filipino operative" of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) group as saying ISIL "is responsible for the attack". The claim could not be independently verified.

But dela Rosa played down the claim, saying "we cannot connect this yet to terrorism", adding there were no fatalities in the attack.

In a brief comment from the White House, US President Donald Trump referred to the incident in Manila as a "terrorist attack".

"We are closely monitoring the situation. Our thoughts and our prayers are with all of those who are affected."  

 

Al Jazeera's Jamela Alindogan, reporting from southern Philippines, cautioned that the group has a history of claiming responsibility for incidents, which later turned out to be unrelated local crimes. 

Philippine-based armed fighters like the Maute Group and Abu Sayyaf have pledged allegiance to ISIL.

Fire trucks, ambulances and police cars rushed to Resorts World Manila as loud gunfire was heard.

Video footage captured by Al Jazeera also showed thick smoke billowing from one of the buildings in the complex.

 

Local broadcaster ABS-CBN Television posted images on social media showing dozens of police officers with firearms and bulletproof vests waiting at the entrance of one of the buildings in the area.

In a Twitter post, resort officials said it is "working closely" with authorities "to ensure that all guests and employees are safe."

"We ask for your prayers during these difficult times." 

In another post, the hotel said it has "no official information as to the identity or affiliation of the persons responsible for this attack".

The Resorts World complex is located opposite one of the terminals of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, the main airport in the country.

There are at least four hotels located in the complex, including a Marriott Hotel.

The incident in Manila comes as the entire country is on high alert following the attack by the Maute Group in the southern city of Marawi in Mindanao, which left over 100 people dead, including many civilians.

Following the Marawi attack, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte declared martial law in Mindanao. He also warned that the order could be expanded to cover the entire country if violence spreads.

Source: Al Jazeera News