Venezuelan President survives assassination attempt

Drones carrying explosives detonate near Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro during speech in Caracas. He was not hurt.

Ben Ariel ,

Maduro reacts as drones detonate during his speech
Maduro reacts as drones detonate during his speech

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro survived an assassination attempt on Saturday when multiple drones carrying explosives detonated near him as he gave a speech at a military ceremony in Caracas, AFP reported.

Maduro was not hurt but seven soldiers were wounded.

"This is an attack against President Nicolas Maduro," Communication Minister Jorge Rodriguez said following the incident that was caught during a live broadcast.

Images broadcast on state television Maduro looking up in confusion mid-speech as a bang is heard, then uniformed members of Venezuela's National Guard lined up in a parade suddenly breaking ranks and scattering.

Rodriguez said there was "an explosive charge... detonated close to the presidential podium" and in several other spots along the parade held in central Caracas.

Maduro "came out of it completely unharmed and at this moment is carrying out his normal duties and is in permanent contact with senior political officials, with ministers and with senior military chiefs," Rodriguez said.

The blasts caused "some wounds for seven service personnel" in the National Guard. They were being treated in hospital, he said.

Maduro, who spoke shortly after the attempted attack, accused far-right opposition and external actors.

"I have no doubt that everything points to the Venezuelan ultra-right in alliance with the Colombian extreme right, and the name of [Colombian President] Jose Manuel Santos is behind this attack," he said.