Venezuela 'drone attack': Six arrests made

Venezuela 'drone attack': Six arrests made

Venezuela 'drone attack': Six arrests made

Venezuelan Interior Minister Nestor Luis Reverol said more arrests could follow in the incident, which he called a terrorist attack, according to the AP.

Attorney General Tarek William Saab said the attempted assassination targeted not only Maduro, but the military's entire high command on stage with the president.

Authorities found various nearby buildings that were struck by the explosions.

Meanwhile, a policeman who requested anonymity told AFP that drones may have been released from a nearby apartment that suffered a fire after one exploded.

One of the witnesses - who showed the AP cellphone video of a drone hovering over a residential street two blocks away and then crashing into a building - said the police arrested the machine's pilot.

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".

State television images showed Maduro looking up disconcertedly in the middle of a speech, having heard a bang, before members of the country's National Guard lined up in the parade suddenly scattered.

Those worries came as Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino Lopez voiced the military's "unconditional and unrestricted loyalty to our commander in chief".

He has blamed Colombia for the incident but provided no evidence.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro is blaming far-right elements and Colombia's outgoing president for last weekend's apparent attempt on his life.

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Mr Maduro, 55, a deeply unpopular leader who was re-elected after a disputed vote in May, said the "far right" working with detractors in Bogota and Miami, including Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos, were responsible.

"These terrorist acts represent a slap in the face to the expressed desire of the President of the Republic, Nicolas Maduro, for national reconciliation and dialogue", Reverol said in a statement read on state television.

Within seconds, Maduro said he heard a second explosion and pandemonium broke out.

"A flying object exploded near me, a big explosion".

Another resident apparently saw the same drone.

So far, Maduro has offered no proof to back up the charges of Colombian or U.S. involvement.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo echoed the comments made by National Security Adviser John Bolton earlier in the day as he returned from an Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) conference Sunday night.

Santos, who is due to hand over power to the hardline right-winger and vocal Maduro critic Ivan Duque on Tuesday, had said this week that the Venezuelan "regime has to fall" and that he could "see it happening in the near future". The government then announced on Sunday that six arrests had been made, with more on the way, and that it had identified "material and intellectual authors inside and outside the country".

Apparently in response, Bolton said, "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".

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

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