>> Smoke still billowing from Manila's Maxims Hotel and day break on Friday after an attacker described by authorities as deranged stormed the resort's casino just after midnight leading to more than 30 deaths and dozens of injuries. Fire fighters working desperately to contain the thick black plumes as ambulances continue to rush the wounded to hospital.
Reuters' Clare Baldwin is on the scene.>> When we turned up, the police were out in force. There were regular police. There were SWAT police. And there was smoke coming out of the building. We found out later that a lone gunman had entered the casino with an armalite rifle.
He'd scared off a security guard, demanded a bunch of casino chips and then proceeded to use gasoline to light several of the gambling tables on fire. He was later killed on the fifth floor of the building, when he apparently doused himself in gasoline and lit himself on fire.
>> Police have ruled out terrorism, saying the attack was more likely a botched robbery attempt. Most of the victims died of suffocation as guests and staff tried to flee choking smoke in what was first feared as a militant attack. The Philippines is on edge as the country's south remains in the throes of an insurgency crisis.
Battles between troops and Islamists rebels are now well into their second week.