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Venezuela says foils marine incursion by terrorists, kills 8 assailants

This file photo shows Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro speaking during a press conference in which he announced a 30-day ban on flights from Europe and Colombia over the coronavirus pandemic in Caracas, on March 12, 2020. (Photo by AFP)

Venezuela says its security forces have foiled a marine incursion by purported "terrorist mercenaries" who sought to enter the South American country using speedboats from neighboring Colombia, killing eight of the assailants.

In a televised address on Sunday, Interior Minister Nestor Reverol announced the news, saying the group had landed early in the day on the coast of La Guaira, some 32 kilometers from capital Caracas.

“They tried to carry out an invasion by sea, a group of terrorist mercenaries from Colombia, in order to commit terrorist acts in the country, murdering leaders of the revolutionary government,” he said.

Socialist Party leader Diosdado Cabello gave more details of the incident, saying eight of the armed intruders had been killed and two were arrested.

“We have deactivated an attempted incursion of our territory, thanks to intelligence efforts,” Cabello further said at a press conference.

Caracas says it has in past few years foiled several assassination attempts against Nicolas Maduro, the incumbent president of Venezuela, which plunged in a political crisis in January last year when US-backed opposition figure Juan Guaido unilaterally declared himself “interim president” of the country.

Guaido rejected the outcome of May 2018 election, which Maduro had won. The opposition figure also later launched an abortive coup against the elected government.

Guaido’s self-proclamation as president and his coup received full support from Washington. Caracas has shown lenience and refrained from arresting Guaido over his abortive coup against the elected government.

Maduro has repeatedly said that his political adversaries spare no effort to oust him with the support of Washington, which has sought to force him from power through rounds of harsh sanctions that have crippled the OPEC nation's oil exports.

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