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5 Aug, 2018 23:30

VIDEO claims to show mid-air explosion of drone used in attack on Maduro

VIDEO claims to show mid-air explosion of drone used in attack on Maduro

A video has emerged on social media purporting to show the exact moment a drone, reportedly targeting Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, bursts into pieces in Caracas after apparently being shot down by the military.

The footage was posted on Sunday by Cesar Guardiola, who describes himself as a security adviser and retired military serviceman. It is unclear whether Guardiola filmed it himself.

Maduro can be heard giving his speech in the background as the camera focuses on a drone flying in the sky. The drone is then seen to be engulfed in a fireball, followed a split second later by a loud bang. The cameraman then briefly lowers the camera, as people standing nearby can be heard panicking and rushing from the scene. When the camera refocuses on the sky, there is no trace of the flying object.

Earlier, Venezuelan Minister of Communication and Information Jorge Rodriguez announced that six people had been detained in connection with the reported plot to kill Maduro during an army commemoration event on Saturday. The assassination attempt, according to Rodrigues, involved three drones that were laden with explosives, all of which detonated. One of them exploded right in front of the presidential box, while the second detonated to the right of the platform. A third, previously unreported drone exploded to the south of the platform in the vicinity of a building, he said.

Earlier, it was reported that a building near the scene had caught fire. Possible explanations mentioned included a gas tank explosion and one of the drones crashing into it.

Maduro has blamed domestic 'ultra-right' opposition and Colombia for orchestrating the attack, which, according to Rodriguez, had taken six months to plot. 

The president also alleged that "financiers and planners" of the attack resided in the US state of Florida, and asked the American authorities for assistance in bringing the alleged perpetrators to justice.

Colombia has since refuted claims that it had anything to do with the attack. The US National Security Advisor John Bolton has also "unequivocally"dismissed speculation that Washington might have had a hand in the incident.

Leaders of several Latin American countries, including Venezuela's closest allies Cuba, Nicaragua and Bolivia, have condemned the attack, with Bolivian President Evo Morales pinning the blame on the US and its 'lackeys.'

Moscow has denounced the attempted assassination as an attempt to further destabilize the situation in the country, which is experiencing a severe economic crisis, calling it "the use of terrorism for political struggle."