Venezuela official: Explosion was attempted attack on Maduro

NEW YORK, NY - JULY 28: Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro speaks to the media following a meeting with UN chief Ban Ki-moon at the United Nations (UN) headquarters in New York on July 28, 2015 in New York City. Maduro is in New York to speak with the UN about his country's escalating border dispute with Guyana. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

CARACAS, Venezuela — Assailants tried to attack Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro with drone-like devices armed with explosives that detonated just as the socialist leader was delivering a speech to hundreds of soldiers, the government said Saturday.

Information Minister Jorge Rodriguez said Maduro was safe and unharmed but that seven people were injured in the apparent attack.

“At exactly 5:41 p.m. in the afternoon several explosions were heard,” Rodriguez said in a live address to the nation minutes after the incident. “The investigation clearly reveals they came from drone-like devices that carried explosives.”

State television showed Maduro celebrating the National Guard’s 81st anniversary right before his speech was abruptly cut short.

“We are going to bet for the good of our country,” Maduro declared triumphantly. “The hour of the economy recovery has come.”

Seconds later Maduro and his wife, Cilia Flores, looked up to the sky and winced after apparently hearing an unidentified sound.

The cameras then turned to a wide shot of military officers standing at attention in neat lines as they broke rank and began running.

The transmission was then cut off.

Several firefighters at the scene are disputing the government’s version of events.