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  • Reverol reported that the operation resulted in the deaths of seven members of the group, including Oscar Perez, the former police helicopter pilot.

    Reverol reported that the operation resulted in the deaths of seven members of the group, including Oscar Perez, the former police helicopter pilot. | Photo: Venezuelan government

Published 16 January 2018

 The operation resulted in the deaths of seven members of the group, including Oscar Perez, the former police helicopter pilot.

Venezuela's Interior Minister confirmed that seven members of what officials are calling a "terrorist cell" were killed during an operation in the outskirts of Caracas Monday.

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"We wanted to report the dismantling of a powerful cell that during the last months have committed terrorist acts," said Nestor Reverol, the Minister of People's Power for Interior Relations, Justice and Peace at a press conference Tuesday.

Reverol reported that the operation resulted in the deaths of seven members of the group, including Oscar Perez, the former police helicopter pilot who grew in prominence after publishing videos on social media calling for armed rebellion against the Venezuelan government. 

Perez was held as responsible for firing 15 shots at the Interior Ministry, where 80 people were still working, before throwing four grenades at the Supreme Court on June 27, 2017. Venezuela's Scientific, Penal and Criminal Investigations agency confirmed that a helicopter was stolen and later used in an attack.

The Interior minister presented audiovisual material showing the actions of the group, and added that two officials had been killed and six other cell members detained in the operation. 

"We also offer our solidarity to the families of those killed in the operation, and we will continue to guarantee peace," the minister added.

Footage circulating on social media showed what is alleged to be a rocket attack on the location that the group was holding out in, though this has not been confirmed by officials.

The group was also responsible for an assault on an arms depot of the Bolivarian National Guard in December, and Reverol said materials stolen during that incident had been recovered in the raid.

Reverol also said that the group had received financing from abroad, and that they were planning actions against the civilian population, including car bombs in public places.

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The dramatic events come days after representatives from Venezuela's government and opposition met in the Dominican Republic in talks aimed at arriving at agreements that would allow the country to resolve factors contributing to its political and economic crisis. 

The Venezuelan official said they were tipped off to the whereabouts of the group through these discussions.

"Some political leaders gave us information on where to find the terrorist cell," Reverol said.


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