(CARACAS, Venezuela) — Venezuelan officials said they foiled an early morning attempt by a group of armed “mercenaries” to invade the country in a beach landing on speedboats Sunday, killing eight attackers and arresting two more.
Socialist party chief Diosdado Cabello said that two of the attackers were interrogated by authorities. Cabello said it was carried out by neighboring Colombia with United States backing in a plot to overthrow President Nicolás Maduro. Both countries have repeatedly denied earlier Venezuelan allegations of backing for military plots against the socialist government.
“Those who assume they can attack the institutional framework in Venezuela will have to assume the consequences of their action,” said Cabello, adding that one of the detained claimed to be an agent of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.
Authorities said they found Peruvian documents, high-caliber weapons, satellite phones, uniforms and helmets adorned with the U.S. flag.
Interior Minister Nestor Reverol described the attackers as “mercenary terrorists” bent on destabilizing Venezuela’s institutions and creating “chaos.” Officials said the attack took place on a beach in La Guaira, about 20 miles (32 kilometers) from Caracas and home to the nation’s largest airport.
Authorities say the attackers had vehicles and heavy arms waiting for them in the port city.
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