Six arrested in Venezuela after drone attack

President Nicolas Maduro offering statements to the press in Caracas Venezuela Aug. 4 2018. Maduro claimed that the Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos and far-right elements in Venezuela had attempted to assassinate him using a pair of drones fly

Hours earlier on Sunday Venezuela's interior minister Nestor Reverol said that six people had been arrested in the case of drones loaded with explosives that were used as part of an attack against President Nicolas Maduro a day earlier while he was delivering a speech during a military event.

"That drone was coming for me but there was a shield of love", Maduro said on Saturday night.

Plotters flew one of the bomb-laden devices over the presidential stage with the goal of activating it near Maduro, but the area was equipped with devices that block invasive radio signals, Reverol said.

The drones did not reach him, officials said, but it was not clear if they were shot down or exploded prematurely.

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".

Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino Lopez, appearing on state television on Sunday, said the attackers were aiming to decapitate Venezuela's entire top leadership along with Maduro.

Maduro said investigations pointed to financial backers who "live in the United States, in the state of Florida".

In a press statement, the ministry said it "strongly rejects" the accusation of Maduro, whose country has been in an escalating political crisis between the socialist government and the opposition.

Deeply unpopular Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro looked keen to project himself as fully in charge of the crisis-ridden military, long a powerbroker, when he addressed its National Guard on Saturday.

"This incident does make Maduro appear vulnerable but the truth remains that his circle has the power to crack down on enemies because they still control all the levers of power", said Raul Gallegos, associate director with the consultancy Control Risks.

The arrests suggest the attack was less a military uprising than an assault led by groups linked to anti-Maduro street protesters, dubbed "The Resistance", who have led two waves of violent demonstrations that left hundreds dead.

"I am fine, I am alive, and after this attack I'm more determined than ever to follow the path of the revolution", he said.

Meanwhile, a little-known group called Soldiers in T-shirts said on social media that it was behind the alleged attack.

With inflation spiraling toward 1 million percent and shortages growing more acute, dozens of officers and soldiers have been arrested by the government in connection with alleged coup plots.

Bolton on August 5 shot down the accusations, denying any American involvement.

Colombia denied any involvement.

Trump's national security adviser John Bolton told "Fox News Sunday" that, "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".

Still, the government's adversaries warned of a possible crackdown after Maduro accused opponents of seeking to assassinate him with drones. "We demand respect for President Juan Manuel Santos, for the Government and for the Colombian people".

In June 2017, an intelligence police commander flew a helicopter over government institutions and threw grenades at the country's Supreme Court building.

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