Assassination attempt on Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro dodged an apparent assassination attempt when drones armed with explosives detonated while he was delivering a speech to hundreds of soldiers being broadcast live on television, officials said.

Caught by surprise mid-speech, Maduro and his wife, Cilia Flores, looked up at the sky and winced Saturday after hearing the sound of an explosion pierce the air.

“This was an attempt to kill me,” he said later in an impassioned retelling of the events. “Today they attempted to assassinate me.”

Information Minister Jorge Rodriguez said the incident took place shortly after 5:30 p.m. as Maduro was celebrating the National Guard’s 81st anniversary. The visibly shaken head of state said he saw a “flying device” that exploded before his eyes. He thought it might be a pyrotechnics display in honor of the event.

Within seconds, Maduro said he heard a second explosion and pandemonium ensued. Bodyguards escorted Maduro out of the event and television footage showed uniformed soldiers standing in formation quickly scattering from the scene. (AP)

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<p>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 flying over a military ceremony. (Photo: Miraflores Press Office/Handout/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock) </p>
Assassination attempt on Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro

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 flying over a military ceremony. (Photo: Miraflores Press Office/Handout/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock)

<p>Security personnel surround Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro during an incident as he was giving a speech in Caracas, Venezuela, Saturday, Aug. 4, 2018. Drones armed with explosives detonated near Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro as he gave a speech to hundreds of soldiers in Caracas on Saturday but the socialist leader was unharmed, according to the government. (Photo: Xinhua via AP) </p>
Assassination attempt on Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro

Security personnel surround Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro during an incident as he was giving a speech in Caracas, Venezuela, Saturday, Aug. 4, 2018. Drones armed with explosives detonated near Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro as he gave a speech to hundreds of soldiers in Caracas on Saturday but the socialist leader was unharmed, according to the government. (Photo: Xinhua via AP)

<p>Security members protect Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro after his speech was interrupted in Caracas, Venezuela, on Aug. 4, 2018. Venezuela’s Minister of Communication Jorge Rodriguez confirmed on Saturday night an attempted attack against President Nicolas Maduro. The attack happened during a speech by Maduro commemorating the 81st anniversary of the country’s National Guard. (Photo: Xinhua via ZUMA Wire) </p>
Assassination attempt on Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro

Security members protect Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro after his speech was interrupted in Caracas, Venezuela, on Aug. 4, 2018. Venezuela’s Minister of Communication Jorge Rodriguez confirmed on Saturday night an attempted attack against President Nicolas Maduro. The attack happened during a speech by Maduro commemorating the 81st anniversary of the country’s National Guard. (Photo: Xinhua via ZUMA Wire)

<p>An uniformed official bleeds from the head following an incident during a speech by Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro in Caracas, Venezuela, Saturday, Aug. 4, 2018. (Photo: Xinhua via AP) </p>
Assassination attempt on Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro

An uniformed official bleeds from the head following an incident during a speech by Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro in Caracas, Venezuela, Saturday, Aug. 4, 2018. (Photo: Xinhua via AP)

<p>Security personnel surround Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro during an incident as he was giving a speech in Caracas, Venezuela, Saturday, Aug. 4, 2018. (Photo: Xinhua via AP) </p>
Assassination attempt on Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro

Security personnel surround Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro during an incident as he was giving a speech in Caracas, Venezuela, Saturday, Aug. 4, 2018. (Photo: Xinhua via AP)

<p>In this still from a video provided by Venezolana de Television, President Nicolas Maduro, center, delivers his speech as his wife Cilia Flores winces and looks up after being startled by and explosion, in Caracas, Venezuela, Saturday, Aug. 4, 2018. (Video still: Venezolana de Television via AP) </p>
Assassination attempt on Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro

In this still from a video provided by Venezolana de Television, President Nicolas Maduro, center, delivers his speech as his wife Cilia Flores winces and looks up after being startled by and explosion, in Caracas, Venezuela, Saturday, Aug. 4, 2018. (Video still: Venezolana de Television via AP)

<p>Venezuela’s Bolivarian National guards officers occupy the Bolivar Avenue where the government said that a drone armed with explosives detonated near Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro in Caracas, Venezuela, Saturday, Aug. 4, 2018. (Photo: Fernando Llano/AP) </p>
Assassination attempt on Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro

Venezuela’s Bolivarian National guards officers occupy the Bolivar Avenue where the government said that a drone armed with explosives detonated near Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro in Caracas, Venezuela, Saturday, Aug. 4, 2018. (Photo: Fernando Llano/AP)

<p>Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro (L) gestures next to Minister of Defence General Vladimir Padrino (C), during a ceremony to celebrate the 81st anniversary of the National Guard in Caracas on August 4, 2018. (Photo: Juan Barreto/AFP/Getty Images) </p>
Assassination attempt on Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro (L) gestures next to Minister of Defence General Vladimir Padrino (C), during a ceremony to celebrate the 81st anniversary of the National Guard in Caracas on August 4, 2018. (Photo: Juan Barreto/AFP/Getty Images)

<p>Members of different security forces guard and take evidence of an explosion on 4 August 2018, in the city of Caracas, Venezuela. (Photo: Miguel Gutierrez/EFE via ZUMA Press) </p>
Assassination attempt on Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro

Members of different security forces guard and take evidence of an explosion on 4 August 2018, in the city of Caracas, Venezuela. (Photo: Miguel Gutierrez/EFE via ZUMA Press)

<p>Security forces check a nearby building after an explosion was heard while Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro was attending a ceremony to celebrate the 81st anniversary of the National Guard, in Caracas on Aug. 4, 2018. (Photo: Juan Barreto/AFP/Getty Images) </p>
Assassination attempt on Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro

Security forces check a nearby building after an explosion was heard while Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro was attending a ceremony to celebrate the 81st anniversary of the National Guard, in Caracas on Aug. 4, 2018. (Photo: Juan Barreto/AFP/Getty Images)

<p>August 4, 2018 – Caracas, Distrito Capital, Venezuela – Members of different security forces guard and take evidence of an explosion on Aug. 4, 2018, in the city of Caracas, Venezuela. (Photo: Miguel Gutierrez/EFE via ZUMA Press) </p>
Assassination attempt on Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro

August 4, 2018 – Caracas, Distrito Capital, Venezuela – Members of different security forces guard and take evidence of an explosion on Aug. 4, 2018, in the city of Caracas, Venezuela. (Photo: Miguel Gutierrez/EFE via ZUMA Press)

<p>Security forces and members of the Bolivarian National Intelligence Service (Sebin) check a nearby building after an explosion was heard while Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro was attending a ceremony to celebrate the 81st anniversary of the National Guard, in Caracas on Aug. 4, 2018. (Photo: Juan Barreto/AFP/Getty Images) </p>
Assassination attempt on Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro

Security forces and members of the Bolivarian National Intelligence Service (Sebin) check a nearby building after an explosion was heard while Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro was attending a ceremony to celebrate the 81st anniversary of the National Guard, in Caracas on Aug. 4, 2018. (Photo: Juan Barreto/AFP/Getty Images)

<p>Security forces check a nearby building after an explosion was heard while Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro was attending a ceremony to celebrate the 81st anniversary of the National Guard, in Caracas on Aug. 4, 2018. (Photo: Juan Barreto/AFP/Getty Images) </p>
Assassination attempt on Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro

Security forces check a nearby building after an explosion was heard while Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro was attending a ceremony to celebrate the 81st anniversary of the National Guard, in Caracas on Aug. 4, 2018. (Photo: Juan Barreto/AFP/Getty Images)

<p>Security forces check a nearby building after an explosion was heard while Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro was attending a ceremony to celebrate the 81st anniversary of the National Guard, in Caracas on Aug. 4, 2018. (Photo: Juan Barreto/AFP/Getty Images) </p>
Assassination attempt on Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro

Security forces check a nearby building after an explosion was heard while Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro was attending a ceremony to celebrate the 81st anniversary of the National Guard, in Caracas on Aug. 4, 2018. (Photo: Juan Barreto/AFP/Getty Images)

<p>Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro (C) delivers a speech during a ceremony to celebrate the 81st anniversary of the National Guard in Caracas on Aug. 4, 2018 day in which Venezuela’s controversial Constituent Assembly marks its first anniversary. (Photo: Juan Barreto/AFP/Getty Images) </p>
Assassination attempt on Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro (C) delivers a speech during a ceremony to celebrate the 81st anniversary of the National Guard in Caracas on Aug. 4, 2018 day in which Venezuela’s controversial Constituent Assembly marks its first anniversary. (Photo: Juan Barreto/AFP/Getty Images)

<p>Picture taken during a ceremony attended by Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro to celebrate the 81st anniversary of the National Guard in Caracas on Aug. 4, 2018. (Photo: Juan Barreto/AFP/Getty Images) </p>
Assassination attempt on Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro

Picture taken during a ceremony attended by Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro to celebrate the 81st anniversary of the National Guard in Caracas on Aug. 4, 2018. (Photo: Juan Barreto/AFP/Getty Images)

<p>Venezuelan military participates in a televised event with soldiers in Caracas, Venezuela, Aug. 4, 2018. (Photo: Miguel Gutierrez/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock) </p>
Assassination attempt on Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro

Venezuelan military participates in a televised event with soldiers in Caracas, Venezuela, Aug. 4, 2018. (Photo: Miguel Gutierrez/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock)

<p>Venezuelan military participates in a televised event with soldiers in Caracas, Venezuela, Aug. 4, 2018. (Photo: Miguel Gutierrez/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock) </p>
Assassination attempt on Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro

Venezuelan military participates in a televised event with soldiers in Caracas, Venezuela, Aug. 4, 2018. (Photo: Miguel Gutierrez/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock)

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