Video footage appears to support claims that two drones armed with explosives were used in a drone attack on a parade where Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro was speaking in Caracas Saturday, says analyst Nick Waters in a blog post for Bellingcat.
Waters, writing in collaboration with Giancarlo Fiorella, editor of In Venezuela, says video from the scene shows at least one drone exploding near to the site of Maduro’s speech. Video of the speech itself shows Maduro apparently surprised by the explosion. A second drone appears to crash close to the scene of an apartment fire, which firefighters had first claimed was caused by a gas explosion.
“Images taken of this location during the fire also show a hole in the wall of the apartment in the vicinity of where the drone would have crashed,” Waters writes, adding, “It is a very likely possibility that the downed drone subsequently detonated, creating the hole in the wall of this apartment, igniting a fire, and causing the sound of the second explosion which can be heard in Video 2.”
The Venezuelan government has claimed the drones were DJI Matrice 600s, each armed with about a kilogram of the explosive C4 and used in an assassination attempt on Maduro. It would be the first known attempt to assassinate a head of state using drones. Drone maker DJI has said it will assist in the investigation, CNN reports, and Venezuelan authorities claim to have arrested six people in response to the attack.
It’s still unclear who exactly was ultimately behind the drone attack. United States and Colombian authorities have said that despite tensions between their countries and Venezuela, they had nothing to do with the attack. Reuters reported Tuesday that Venezuelan activist and former municipal police chief Salvatore Lucchese claimed to be part of the planning for the attack, though the news service couldn’t independently verify his claims.