Six people who have previously expressed anti-government sentiment have been detained as the police hunt for others behind what Venezuela's government say called a failed attempt to assassinate President Nicholas Maduro with an drone explosives-laden during a military celebration.
Venezuela's government said that those arrested have shown anti-government sentiment in the past. Interior Minister Nestor Reverol said that two of those arrested had previous run-ins with the government, but did not name them. Another, he said, took part in the 2014 anti-government protests as its economic crisis worsened. Another had a warrant out for his arrest after participating in an attack on a military barracks.
Reverol said that there could be more arrests "in the next hours."
Maduro and his administration have blamed the "ultra-right" in Venezuela, US citizens in Florida and the Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos for what they say is the assassination attempt, but have not offered evidence for these claims. They claim that those detained had worked with other people in these countries.
But reports from Venezuelan authorities have varied, withthe Caracas Fire Department saying that the explosion in a nearby apartment building was a gas leak rather than from a drone. Opposition leaders have also denied involvement.
Photos purporting to depict the blast show the interior of a building burning, which more resemble a gas fire than an airborne drone exploding.
Trump's national security adviser, John Bolton, said he could state "unequivocally" that there was no US government involvement, while the Colombian government also denies involvement.
Experts warn that the socialist president will use the incident to consolidate power as his country continues to be mired by a financial crisis and thousands flee the country. Venezuela's inflation hit more than 40,000% in June and the country is facing severe food shortages.
An explosion went off in Caracas, the capital of Venezuela, on Saturday, when Maduro was addressing soldiers as part of the National Guard's 81st anniversary. State television was broadcasting when an explosion was heard. Maduro and his wife, Cilia Flores, were captured wincing as soldiers ran in the chaos.
The interior minister said that the attack involved two drones, each packed with a kilogram (2.2 pounds) of C-4 plastic explosive. Drones cannot be seen in the broadcast footage, but witnesses told the Associated Press that they saw the drones.
Maduro was escorted from the event by bodyguards and was unharmed. While administration officials said it was an assassination attempt, Rocio San Miguel, a military expert who leads an investigative website called Control Ciudadano, told the Washington Post that it was "a security mistake" and that the military had lost control of its own drone.
David Smilde, an expert on Venezuela at the Washington Office on Latin America, told the Associated Press that the incident looked like an "amateurish" attack, rather than a staged one.
"They tried to kill me today," Maduro said on television after the incident, blaming the "ultra-right."
"Maximum punishment! And there will be no forgiveness."
An Oregon Air National Guard F-15C Eagle that made an emergency landing on Wednesday ditched its entire arsenal of live air-to-air missiles before touching down at Portland International Airport, The War Zone reports.
President Donald Trump announced in December that he would withdraw all U.S. troops from Syria, but Sen. Lindsey Graham has since made a strong push to keep a small residual force along the Turkish border along with troops from European allies.
The former Navy SEAL among a group of eight men arrested earlier this week in Port-au-Prince on weapons charges says he was providing security work "for people who are directly connected to the current President" of Haiti.
"We were being used as pawns in a public fight between him and the current Prime Minister of Haiti," said Chris Osman, 44, in a post on Instagram Friday. "We were not released we were in fact rescued."
It's a photo for the ages: a Marine NCO, a Greek god in his dress blues, catches the eye of a lovely young woman as her boyfriend urges her on in distress. It's the photographic ancestor of the much-loved "distracted boyfriend" stock photo meme, made even sweeter by the fact that this is clearly a sailor about to lose his girl to a Devil Dog.
Well, this photo and the Marine in it, which hopscotched around Marine Corps Facebook and Instagram pages before skyrocketing to the front page of Reddit on Thursday, are very real.
The photo shows then-Staff Sgt. Louis A. Capozzoli — and he is absolutely not on his way to steal your girl.