Crackdown Feared in Venezuela After Alleged Assassination Attempt on Maduro

Crackdown Feared in Venezuela After Alleged Assassination Attempt on Maduro

Crackdown Feared in Venezuela After Alleged Assassination Attempt on Maduro

Two drones loaded with explosives went off near the president's stand, Communications Minister Jorge Rodriguez said.

Plotters flew one of the bomb-laden devices over the presidential stage with the goal of activating it near Maduro, but the area was equipped with devices that block invasive radio signals, Reverol said.

Reverol says the second drone crashed into a nearby building and exploded.

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 witness showed The Associated Press cellphone video of a drone crashing into a building.

Reverol said the "assassination" attempt was carried out by two remotely operated drones and each carrying a kilogram (2.2 pounds) of plastic explosive C4 - "capable of causing effective damage over a 50-meter (164 feet) radius".

Dozens of soldiers were seen scattering after the explosions, . and seven members of the National Guard were said to have been injured, three seriously.

"If the government of Venezuela has hard information that they want to present to us that would show a potential violation of USA criminal law, we'll take a serious look at it", he said.

On Sunday, the Colombian government issued a statement dismissing the allegations as "absurd", describing the charges as typical of Maduro's practice of blaming Colombia "for any type of situation".

The United States had "no involvement" in an apparent drone assassination attempt against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro on August 4, national security adviser John Bolton told Fox News.

"I have no doubt that everything points to the right, the Venezuelan ultra-right", Maduro said on Saturday night.

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Maduro later gave a separate address, stating: "A flying object exploded near me, a big explosion".

Reverol said he doesn't rule out further arrests.

Maduro said some of those involved were arrested and an investigation was under way. "It was so strong the building shook", she said "I said, 'Oh my God, what happened.' It terrified me". Saab told CNN he saw a drone filming the event explode.

Maduro is deeply unpopular because of Venezuela's collapsed economy, hyperinflation that could reach 1 million percent this year and his autocratic style of governing.

The government of the United States, which supported a failed coup against Maduro's predecessor Hugo Chavez in 2002, also denied any responsibility.

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

An earlier account by firefighters at the scene of the blast hand linked the explosion to a gas leak.

"It could be a lot of things from a pretext set up by the Maduro regime itself to something else", United States national security adviser John Bolton told conservative news network Fox on Sunday.

Speaking on "Fox News Sunday", Bolton said that if Venezuela had "hard information" of a potential violation of USA law, "we will take a serious look at it".

A year ago, four months of street protests flared against his authority that were put down by robust action from the army, the National Guard and police, resulting in 125 people killed.

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

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