Politics

Trump incorrectly labels Philippines robbery a terror attack

Only one assailant involved, police say

(CNN) - President Donald Trump incorrectly labeled violence in the Philippines on Thursday a "terrorist attack" just minutes before officials said it was the result of a suspected robbery.

Trump, before announcing the United States was leaving the Paris climate agreement, opened the event by saying "our thoughts and our prayers" are with those affected by the "terrorist attack in Manila."

"We are closely monitoring the situation and I will continue to give updates, anything happens, during this period of time," he said. "But is really pretty sad what is going on throughout the world with terror. Our thoughts and our prayers are with all of those affected."

But officials on the ground in the Philippines said the opposite.

The incident was initially described by the country's police chief General Dela Rosa shortly after Trump's comments as an attempt by a lone thief to rob gamblers rather than a terrorist attack.

This was echoed by Resorts World Manila Chief Operating Officer Stephen James Reilly, who told reporters gathered outside the building that only one assailant was involved.

"At the moment we only know of one suspect," he said.

Trump was briefed by national security adviser H.R. McMaster on the Philippines incident before he went into the Rose Garden, a White House official said.

A senior White House official later confirmed that the President had been "briefed that media reports indicated ISIS had taken credit." ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack Friday, but Philippine National Police-National Capitol Region Provincial Office quickly disputed the terror group's claim.

A spokesman for the National Security Council did not respond to request for comment.

CORRECTION: This story has been updated to correctly spell Stephen James Reilly's name.


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