Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro has survived what is believed to be the first drone attack on a head of state, after two drones lined with explosives detonated during a military event.
In the televised event, the President and his wife, Cilia Flores, can be seen looking up as the bombs detonated above them.
Venezuela’s interior minister Nestor Reverol said that the military managed to electronically divert one of the drones away from the President, while the other crashed into a nearby apartment building.
Reverol said the drones, which were each carrying 1kg of C-4 plastic explosives, were intended to explode directly in front and above the President.
Seven members of the National Guard were injured during the incident.
“I am alive and victorious,” said President Maduro following the attack. “Everything points to the Venezuelan ultra-right in alliance with the Colombian ultra-right, and that the name of Juan Manuel Santos [President of Colombia] is behind this attack.”
However, local authorities have since detained six suspects over the incident who are believed to be part of an anti-Maduro movement named 'The Resistance'.
Questions remain over exact details, with Associated Press quoting local firefighters who said the incident was caused by a gas tank explosion and some suspecting that the incident could have been staged by the government as a way for the President to strengthen controls.
The drones used for the attack were DJI M600 drones – a professional-grade model usually used by filmmakers and photographers.
CEO of counter drone technology company DroneShield, Oleg Vornik, said the attack signified the threat drones carry.
“Yesterday’s apparent drone assassination attempt on Venezuelan President Maduro is the first known drone attack on a head of state,” he said.
“An attempted drone assassination of a sitting sovereign leader demonstrates that, sadly, the era of drone terrorism has well and truly arrived.
“Technological progress cannot be reversed, and going forward, the security of any asset whose perimeter is protected two-dimensionally on the ground will need to be also protected in the third dimension – from attacks from the air.”
While the alleged drone attack in Venezuela is perhaps the most high-profile incident to date, drones have become increasingly involved in terrorism in recent times.