Friday, September 3, 2010

Anniversary Of Beslan School Tragedy

Towns and cities across Russia have united in grief on the anniversary of the tragic end of the Beslan school siege in 2004.

The terrorist attack, the worst on Russian soil, took the lives of 334 hostages – including 186 children – after a three-day siege at the school.

Memorial ceremonies are expected to be held to mark the sixth anniversary of the Beslan school massacre -- the mass hostage-taking incident in Russia's North Ossetia-Alania Republic in which more than 300 people died.

On September 1, 2004, at the start of the school year, armed militants led by separatists from the Chechen Republic, North Ossetia's neighbor in the North Caucasus region of the Russian Federation, took control of a primary school in the town of Beslan, seizing more than 1,100 hostages, mostly children, and herding them into the school gym.

On the third day of the standoff, Russian security forces stormed the building. The school was shaken by explosions and engulfed by fire during a gun battle between Russian forces and the hostage-takers.

At least 330 hostages were killed, more than half of them children.

compiled from agency reports by Yefim Toybin

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