Published: Mon, August 06, 2018
Worldwide | By Angelina Lucas

Venezuela says assassination attempt used drones loaded explosives

Venezuela says assassination attempt used drones loaded explosives

The alleged attack involved two drones, each carrying a kilogram (2.2 pounds) of plastic explosive C4, which Reverol said on state television is "capable of causing effective damage over a 50-meter (164 feet) radius".

He said one of the drones flew over the tribune where Maduro was giving a speech to mark a military parade but that it became "disoriented by signal inhibiting equipment" and was thus "activated outside the assassins' planned perimeter". He said several conspirators were arrested in Venezuela, and appealed to President Donald Trump for help with arresting others connected to the attack in Miami.

Witnesses said they heard and felt an explosion in the late afternoon, then saw a drone fall out of the sky and hit a nearby building.

One showed a cellphone video of a drone hovering over a residential street two blocks away and then crashing into a building.

Colina, a retired lieutenant in the National Guard, said there's real "fear" that Maduro and his allies will strike out against opponents.

Patricia Andrade, executive director of the human rights organization Venezuela Awareness Foundation, said Maduro's government takes advantage of any excuse to stop the opposition and dig in its heels.

Venezuela's opposition braced itself for "persecution and repression" as the armed forces vowed "unconditional" loyalty to radical socialist leader Maduro, who, standing with his wife on a reviewing stand, was unharmed in the incident.

Russia's foreign ministry on Sunday condemned the "assassination attempt" on its ally Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro, calling it an "attack" that used "terrorist methods".

He blamed the Venezuelan political far right in collaboration with the Colombian far right, and the current Colombian President Santos of being behind the assassination attack.

"They tried to assassinate me today", Maduro said on Saturday evening, claiming that "I have no doubt that everything is pointing at the Venezuelan right, the extreme right in alliance with the Colombian extreme right".

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Officials say attackers flew drones loaded with explosives toward the president during an open-air military ceremony that was broadcast on live television.

Prosecutors have already launched their investigation and obtained critical details from the suspects in custody, said Saab, adding that he would give more details Monday.

"The material and intellectual authors of the crime inside and outside the country have been plainly identified", Reverol said, adding that more arrests are expected.

The Colombian government was quick to deny any involvement, saying there was "no basis" to Mr Maduro's allegations.

United States national security advisor John Bolton insisted there was "no U.S. government involvement" and even suggested that the incident may have been "a pretext set up by the regime itself". However, other accounts attributed the fire to the accidental explosion of a gas cylinder.

TV footage showed Mr Maduro looking up from a podium as loud bangs were heard at an event marking the 81st anniversary of the Venezuelan National Guard.

The attack highlights Maduro's challenges in maintaining control over the OPEC nation, where widespread food and medicine shortages have fuelled outrage.

"We demonstrated that they are vulnerable".

Venezuela's government routinely accuses opposition activists of plotting to attack and overthrow Maduro.

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