Russia, September 1, 2004: 200 Students plus 200 others are
being held hostage by terrorists wearing Suicide belts.
Beslan, Russia, September 1, 2004: At least eight
people are dead according to initial reports:
400 people, including 200 children, were today taken hostage in a school in
It is reported that a group of heavily-armed terrorists
stormed the secondary school, in the city of Beslan, during a ceremony being
held to mark the first day of the new school year. It is additionally
reported that hostage-takers have since freed 15 of the students.
At initial reports at least two people were killed and
nine injured when the school was stormed. Although, it is currently being
reported that up to 8 have been killed.
One dead included a father who was taking his son to school and had
attempted to resist the terrorists, and one of the attackers, who was shot
The Russian news reported that the attackers had mined
the school's gymnasium and threatened to blow it up if security forces
attempted to intervene. A regional police official told the Associated Press
that the hostages had been herded into the gym building.
Russia's security service, confirmed that between 17 and
30 attackers - some believed to have been wearing explosives - stormed the
school this morning.
Around 50 children managed to escape shortly after
the terrorists struck. The pupils, who had apparently hidden when the
attack began, started to leave in small groups when the shooting died
Belsan is in the republic of North Ossetia, which
borders wartorn Chechnya. The identities or origin of the kidnappers
were not known, but their tactics and demands suggest they are Chechen
Itar-Tass reported that the attackers had demanded
the release of fighters seized in the neighboring province of
Ingushetia during a huge rebel raid on the region in June.
Today's seizure came
hours after a suicide bomber last night killed 10 people and injured
more than 50 outside a Moscow subway station. Last week, terrorists were
blamed after two Russian airliners crashed, killing 90 people. These
attaches believe to have some connection to al Qaeda.
On Sunday, presidential
elections were held in Chechnya - a Kremlin-baked move aimed at
undermining support for insurgents by establishing a degree of civil
order in the republic.
Fears that Chechen rebels
aimed to take their fight outside the republic's borders increased in
June after insurgents launched a coordinated series of attacks on police
facilities in neighboring Ingushetia, killing more than 90 people.
In a video released
several days after the attack, a man appearing to be Basayev claimed
responsibility for the assaults, saying his fighters had seized huge
quantities of arms from police arsenals.
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