Venezuela says explosions were an attack on President Maduro

Venezuela says explosions were an attack on President Maduro

Information Minister Jorge Rodriguez said in a live broadcast that several drone-like devices with explosives detonated near the Maduro.

Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro attends a military parade to celebrate the 206th anniversary of Venezuela's independence in Caracas, Venezuela, July 5, 2017.

In this still from a video provided by Venezolana de Television, Presiden Nicolas Maduro delivers his speech as his wife Cilia Flores winces and looks up after the explosion.

The cameras then turned to a wide shot of military officers standing at attention in neat lines as they broke rank and began running.

Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro has accused his Colombian counterpart of being behind an apparent assassination attempt earlier today. He said far-right wing factions within Venezuela working in collaboration with conspirators in Colombia's Bogota and Miami in the United States were responsible.

In his speech post-attack, Maduro said he saw one flying object explode right in front of him and a split second later, another go off to his right.

Firefighters at the scene of the blast disputed the government's version of events.

Oscar Pérez, a rogue elite helicopter pilot, claimed he carried out the helicopter attack and called on Venezuelans to rise up against the government of President Maduro.

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West Texas Intermediate, the USA benchmark for the price of oil, was down 1.37 percent to $69.17 per barrel. Futures in NY fell as much as 0.8 percent after a 2 percent decline Tuesday.

- Rebel claims - Venezuelan security forces check a nearby building after the alleged "assassination" attempt on Maduro.

A senior US State Department official said the White House was monitoring the situation closely.

But Maduro himself said: "I have no doubt that the name (Colombian President) Juan Manuel Santos is behind this attack".

Earlier, various reports by global media outlets had indicated that this was an assassination attempt on Maduro.

Rodriguez also reported that Maduro addressed the people a few minutes later.

Hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans have fled the country, where food and medicine are in very short supply, and where inflation this year could reach as high as one million percent according to the International Monetary Fund.

Maduro, 55, succeeded Hugo Chavez when the longtime Venezuelan socialist died of cancer in 2013.

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