Nicolas Maduro ‘survived assassination attempt involving exploding drones’

A man counts 1000 Bolivar-bills to buy groceries at the municipal market of Coche a neighbourhood of Caracas

Mr Maduro was speaking in the capital Caracas on Saturday during a celebration of the National Guard's 81st anniversary when two blasts were heard at 5.40pm (10.40pm BST).

Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro watches a military parade, alongside his Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino Lopez, behind, at Fort Tiuna in Caracas, Venezuela.

Venezuela's information minister says several drones loaded with explosives exploded close to where President Maduro was speaking.

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"I have no doubt that everything points to the right, to the Venezuelan far-right in alliance with the Colombian far-right and that the name Juan Manuel Santos (Colombian president) is behind this attempt, I have no doubt". Maduro's speech was abruptly cut short and soldiers could be seen breaking ranks and scattering.

Rodriguez said Maduro is safe and unharmed but that seven people were injured.

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

Leftist Maduro, who replaced President Hugo Chavez after his death in 2013, has linked the attack to Colombia and the U.S.

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In an impassioned address to the nation, Maduro said some of the "material authors" of an attack with drones are now in custody.

Maduro said the investigation into the incident started immediately and that some of those involved in the attack had been captured and charged, although he did not specify the charges against them.

Three officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to discuss the case say the incident was actually a gas tank explosion inside an apartment.

Firefighters near the scene have disputed Mr Rodriguez's version of events.

The attack comes as the nation struggles with an economic crisis. "It was not successful today, but it is just a matter of time".

"It is contrary to military honor to keep in government those who not only have forgotten the Constitution, but who have also made public office an obscene way to get rich", the group said in a statement passed to US-based opposition journalist Patricia Poleo, who read it on her YouTube channel.

Images being shared on social media showed officers surrounding Maduro with what appeared to be a black bullet-proof barrier as they escorted him from the site.

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