Cop chopper strafes Venezuela apex court

A police officer identifying himself as Oscar Perez called for a rebellion against Maduro's 'tyranny' on Instagram
A police officer identifying himself as Oscar Perez called for a rebellion against Maduro's 'tyranny' on Instagram

A Venezuelan police helicopter strafed the Supreme Court and a government ministry on Tuesday, escalating the OPEC nation's political crisis in what President Nicolas Maduro called an attack by "terrorists" seeking a coup.

The aircraft fired 15 shots at the Interior Ministry, where scores of people were at a social event, and dropped four grenades on the court, where judges were meeting, officials said.

However, there were no reports of injuries.

"Sooner rather than later, we are going to capture the helicopter and those behind this armed terrorist attack against the institutions of the country," Maduro said.

"They could have caused dozens of deaths," he said.

Venezuela's government said in a communique that the helicopter was stolen by investigative police pilot Oscar Perez, who declared himself in rebellion against Maduro.

Images shared on social and local media appear to show Perez waving a banner from the helicopter reading "Liberty", and the number "350" in large letters.

The number refers to the constitutional article allowing people the right to oppose an undemocratic government.

A video posted on Perez's Instagram account around the same time showed him standing in front of several hooded armed men, saying an operation was underway to restore democracy.

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