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Venezuela's Maduro says Amuay refinery was hit by a terrorist attack

Credit: REUTERS/Miraflores Palace

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro on Wednesday said the country's Amuay oil refinery was victim of a terrorist attack on Tuesday that involved a "powerful weapon."

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CARACAS, Oct 28 (Reuters) - Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro on Wednesday said the country's Amuay oil refinery was victim of a terrorist attack on Tuesday that involved a "powerful weapon."

An explosion hit a distillation unit at the 645,000 barrel-per-day (bpd) plant on Tuesday, people familiar with the matter said, though there were no reports of injuries. The incident came while output at the plant was halted, though workers were attempting to restart some production.

"Yesterday, the Amuay refinery - one of the most important refineries in Venezuela and Latin America - was attacked with a long, powerful weapon," Maduro said at a press conference, adding that the government was seeking to determine what kind of weapon was involved.

The OPEC nation's once-formidable 1.3 million bpd refining network is mostly halted due to years of underinvestment and mismanagement, contributing this year to acute fuel shortages across Venezuela.

The government has frequently blamed Venezuela's opposition and the United States for alleged attacks on the country's critical infrastructure, including after widespread electric blackouts last year. The opposition dismisses those accusations as excuses for the failure of Venezuela's public services.

(Reporting by Brian Ellsworth)

((brian.ellsworth@thomsonreuters.com; 58 212 655 2660; Reuters Messaging: brian.ellsworth.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net, @ReutersVzla))

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