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Was the Maduro Assassination Attempt a 'False Flag' Operation?

Venezuelan President Nicholas Maduro says he survived an assassination attempt yesterday during a military parade, but speculation has been running rampant that the incident was a "false flag" operation by his government initiated to crack down on the opposition.

The BBC quotes anonymous firefighters at the scene who say "the incident was actually a gas tank explosion inside an apartment, but did not provide further details." Venezuelan authorities also said that 7 people had been arrested.

Put two and two together and the possibility exists that Maduro's government, in the midst of a terrible economic crisis with inflation climbing toward one million percent and empty grocery store shelves, might have engineered a false security situation to give it an excuse to crack down on opponents.

Two drones loaded with explosives went off near the president's stand, Communications Minister Jorge Rodriguez said.

Mr Maduro later said in a national address: "A flying object exploded near me, a big explosion. Seconds later there was a second explosion."

Photos on social media showed bodyguards protecting Mr Maduro with bulletproof shields after the alleged attack.

Maduro blamed the usual suspects:

Mr Maduro accused neighbouring Colombia and elements within the US of instigating "a right-wing plot" to kill him.

He added that he had "no doubt" Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos was "behind this attack".

The Venezuelan leader, who has previously accused the US of plotting against him, provided no evidence to back his claim.

The Colombian government has denied any involvement, saying there is "no basis" to Mr Maduro's allegations.

Some striking images from the incident show thousands of Venezuelan national guardsmen marching in perfect order, only to break and flee in terror when the explosions occurred.

Former White House adviser Eric Farnsworth had a pithy tweet about the military:

The BBC is reporting that 7 soldiers were injured during the melee.