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Chavez Tells of Foiled Assassination Plot Against Election Rival

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez says authorities have foiled an attempt by radical fascists to assassinate the opposition's leading presidential candidate.

President Chavez said Thursday that the groups were plotting to use a rifle with telescopic sight to shoot at Manuel Rosales during a speech. Mr. Chavez said the goal would have been to say he ordered his opponent killed and generate chaos.

The president made his remarks during the last day of campaigning ahead of Sunday's election.

Opinion polls show President Chavez with a strong lead over Rosales, who held a separate rally in the western city of Maracaibo. The Zulia state governor said he was confident of defeating the twice-elected president.

Mr. Chavez has warned that the United States may seek to interfere in the vote. Washington denies any attempt to influence the poll.

On Wednesday, Venezuela's military said it will respond to any efforts to disrupt the public order. The U.S. embassy in Caracas has warned U.S. nationals in Venezuela about possible violence during the vote. It also cited the Venezuelan government's sharp criticism of the Bush administration.

Some information for this report provided by AP and AFP.