- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Venezuelan authorities say they’ve succeeded in hunting and killing a rebellious police officer accused of carrying out a helicopter and grenade attack against the government last year.

Interior Minister Nestor Reverol said Tuesday that the officer, 36-year-old Oscar Perez, was killed along with six other members of a “terrorist cell” during a shootout with government forces Monday. Two police officers were also reportedly killed in the shootout.

Perez became internationally known in June when he staged the brazen helicopter attack in Caracas, according to The Associated Press. He’s since been a fugitive, posting videos calling for an uprising against what he called Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s tyrannical government.

Venezuelan opposition quickly condemned the operation that left Perez dead.

The New York-based Human Rights Foundation (HRF) — a group founded in 2005 by Venezuelan film producer Thor Halvorssen Mendoza — called the operation an “extrajudicial killing … by Venezuelan security forces.”

In a statement on its website, the HRF claimed Venezuelan state security operatives cornered Perez and his allies at their hideout in the El Junquito neighborhood near Caracas.

“Despite repeated pleas of surrender by Perez and those in his group, government forces opened fire against them with anti-tank rocket-propelled grenades and sniper rifles,” the statement said. “Prior to his death, Perez uploaded videos of the assault on his hideout and his pleas for surrender to social media.”

Mr. Halvorssen Mendoza was quoted in the statement as saying the operation against Mr. Perez was “proof … that Nicolas Maduro is a ruthless dictator.”

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