Assassination by drone? Venezuela's President avoids plot to kill

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro reacts during an event which was interrupted in this still frame taken from video

Venezuela's defense minister says attackers mounting an assassination attempt were aiming to decapitate the government's entire top leadership along with President Nicolas Maduro.

"This was an attempt to kill me", he said later in an impassioned retelling of the event.

He also blamed Venezuelans living in the United States.

"The investigation will get to the bottom of this", he said, "no matter who falls".

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

The drone-bomb assassination attempt on Venezuela's president has raised fears of copycat efforts by terrorists elsewhere. He at first thought it might be a pyrotechnics display. "Seconds later there was a second explosion".

Video shows hundreds of soldiers scattering as the explosions occur.

Witnesses interviewed Sunday by The Associated Press confirmed seeing at least one drone that appeared to be linked to an explosion.

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

Saab said the names of those arrested would be revealed on Monday.

"I looked at that and said, 'Oh my God, '" said Linskey, the former Boston police superintendent-in-chief. "He said, 'Well, I don't have anything to do with it'". Moments later, she heard a second blast and saw black smoke.

Davis cited easy access to the devices, lack of enforcement and the "fact that they've actually been utilized by people that have threatened to harm citizens".

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A senior State Department official declined to comment on the incident beyond saying the department was following reports from Caracas.

US National Security Adviser John Bolton denied any US involvement in the incident, adding that it could be "a pretext set up by the regime itself".

He asked Trump to arrest the terrorists.

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

Amid deadly, near-daily protests previous year, a rogue police officer flew a stolen helicopter over the capital and launched grenades at several government buildings. Maduro was on stage with his wife, other officials and military leaders.

Attackers are believed to have used two DJI M600 drones that each carried 1 kilogram of C-4 explosive. The authenticity of the message could not be independently verified, and the organization did not respond to a message from the AP.

"We showed that they are vulnerable", the group said in a tweet.

On other occasions, Maduro blamed Colombian paramilitary groups of trying to further destabilize the country whose crisis has spurred the migration of more than a million people over the past two years. A camera then trains on lines of military personnel in formation in the center of Caracas. Despite the optics, Smilde said he suspected that Maduro would nonetheless find a way to take advantage of it. The country's economy has largely collapsed, its currency has suffered hyperinflation, and its population has endured widespread food and medicine shortages, as well as increased crime and violence.

While he told listeners: "To the conscious Venezuela, we are going to bet for the good of our country, the hour of the economic recovery has come as we need".

Photos on social media show bodyguards lifting multiple bulletproof shields in front of Maduro.

Still, the government's adversaries warned of a possible crackdown after Maduro accused opponents of seeking to assassinate him with drones.

"I am fine, I am alive, and after this attack I'm more determined than ever to follow the path of the revolution", added the successor to the late author of Venezuela's socialist revolution, Hugo Chavez.

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