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Old 09-01-2004, 02:29 PM   #1
RussiaBoy
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Attackers seize hostages at Russian school

Attackers seize hostages at Russian school
8 reported dead; 300-400 believed held in takeover near Chechnya

MSNBC News Services
Updated: 1:45 p.m. ET Sept. 1, 200

BESLAN, Russia - More than a dozen militants wearing suicide-bomb belts seized a southern Russian school in a region bordering Chechnya on Wednesday, taking an estimated 300 hostages — many of them children — and threatening to blow up the building if police storm it. As many as eight people have been reported killed, one of them a parent.

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Hours into the desperate standoff, security officials said they had made brief contact with the hostage-takers, believed to be Chechen rebels.

Russian special forces wearing camouflage and carrying heavy-caliber machine guns surrounded Middle School No. 1. About 1,000 people, mostly parents, were massed the three-story building in the town of Beslan, demanding information and accusing the government of failing to protect their children.

There was confusion over the number of hostages, but local police estimated that between 300 and 400 teachers and students were being held in the school.

Militants vow 50-1 killing ratio
Kazbek Dzantiyev, head of the North Ossetia region’s Interior Ministry, said that the hostages have threatened “for every destroyed fighter, they will kill 50 children and for every injured fighter — 20 (children),” the ITAR-Tass news agency reported.

The school takeover in Beslan, located 10 miles north of the regional capital of Vladikavkaz, was the latest blamed on secessionist Chechen rebels. It came a day after a suicide bomber killed nine people in Moscow and a week after near-simultaneous explosions blamed on terrorists caused two Russian planes to crash, killing all 90 people on board. The surge in violence was apparently timed around last Sunday’s Chechen presidential election.


The U.N. Security Council called an emergency meeting later Wednesday at the request of Russian Ambassador Andrei Denisov to discuss the wave of deadly terrorist attacks in Russia, council diplomats told Reuters.

“In essence, war has been declared on us, where the enemy is unseen and there is no front,” Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov said.

President Vladimir Putin interrupted his working holiday Wednesday in the Black Sea resort of Sochi for a second time and returned to the capital. On arrival at the airport, he held an immediate meeting with the heads of Russia’s Interior Ministry and Federal Security Service, the Interfax news agency said.

The standoff began after a ceremony marking the first day of the Russian school year, when it was likely that many parents had accompanied their children. About 17 militants, men and women, stormed the three-story building and herded captives into the gymnasium. They forced children to stand at the windows and warned they would blow up the school if police intervened, said Alexei Polyansky, a police spokesman for southern Russia.

At one point, a girl wearing a floral print dress and a red bow in her hair fled the school, her hand held by a flak-jacketed soldier. An older woman followed them. Ruslan Ayamov, spokesman for North Ossetia’s Interior Ministry told the Associated Press that 12 children and one adult managed to escape after hiding in the building’s boiler room.

Sporadic gunfire continued to ring out throughout the day.

‘Like a shot into my heart’
"Every gunshot I hear is like a shot into my heart," said a woman who identified herself as Vera and said her child was among the hostages.


Hours after the seizure, Regional Federal Security Service chief Valery Andreyev said on NTV television that negotiations with the hostage-takers “are just, just beginning” and that brief contact had not allowed authorities to evaluate the situation in Beslan.

The ITAR-Tass news agency, citing local hospitals, reported that seven people died of injuries in the hospital and one was killed at the site during the seizure.

But Regional Emergency Situations Minister Boris Dzgoyev told the AP that two civilians were killed and nine hospitalized, and that two other bodies were visible near the school. Interfax cited a health official as saying four people were killed, but the emergencies ministry later said the toll was two.

Dzgoyev said a girl was also lying near the building, presumably wounded, but officials said the area could not be approached because it was coming under fire.

Fatima Khabalova, spokeswoman for the regional parliament, earlier said one of the dead was a father who brought his child to the school and was shot when he tried to resist the raiders. She also said at least nine people had been injured in gunfire, including three teachers and two police officers.

Suspicion in both the school attack and the Moscow bombing fell on Chechen rebels or their sympathizers, but there was no evidence of any direct link. The attacks came around Chechnya’s presidential elections, a Kremlin-backed vote aimed at undermining support for the insurgents by establishing a modicum of civil order in the war-shattered republic. The previous president, Akhmad Kadyrov, was killed with more than 20 others in a bombing May 9.

One hostage said released with demands
The militants inside the school released one hostage with a list of their demands, including the freedom of fighters detained over a series of attacks on police facilities in neighboring Ingushetia in June, ITAR-Tass reported.

They also seek talks with regional officials and a well-known pediatrician, Leonid Roshal, who aided hostages during the deadly seizure of a Moscow theater in 2002, news reports said.

Parents of the seized children recorded a videocassette appeal Putin to fulfill the terrorists’ demands, Khabalova said. The text of the appeal was not immediately available.

The violence was the latest to plague Putin, who came to power vowing to crush the Chechen rebellion. Terrorism fears in Russia have risen markedly following the plane crashes and the suicide bombing outside a Moscow subway station Tuesday night. The blast by a female attacker tore through a busy area between the station and a department store, killing nine people and wounded more than 50.
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Old 09-01-2004, 05:48 PM   #2
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I was actually in Vladikavkaz a couple of months ago. At the time, it was difficult to realize that it is only 100 kms (60 miles) from Grosny, the capital of Chechnya, as it was all quiet and busy. I believe that the choice of striking Nother Ossetia is not random: 40% of all vodka commercialized in the Russian Federation is produced in the Autonomous Republic of Nothern Ossetia. This economic reason alone make it a strong supporter of the Russian Republic.
And, incidentally, Stalin's mother was born in Nothern Ossetia, another historical reason for Chechens to want to strike the Ossetians, as Stalin deported in 1947 the whole Chechen population of 600,000, to Siberia; an estimated 200,000 died before they were allowed to return in 1955. As a side remark, Stalin's cult is still very and openly vivid in all of Nothern Ossetia, through busts and monuments, but also through large slogans painted on walls.

Marc

PS: a couple of pictures from Northern Ossetia
1. With Ossetian friends in front of memorial to Stalin
2. View of downtown Vladikavkaz, with the Terek River and the Caucasus mountains in the background
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Stalin.jpg (44.4 KB, 34 views)
File Type: jpg Vladikavkaz.jpg (45.6 KB, 31 views)

Last edited by Lapa; 09-01-2004 at 06:12 PM.
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Old 09-03-2004, 09:06 AM   #3
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I just read that Russian spetsnaz just ended the siege by storming the school. The results (unofficial) are shocking - 100-150 killed, hundreeds wounded... Terrible end to the stand-off, one of the worst possible scenarios.

William
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Old 09-03-2004, 01:44 PM   #4
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three interesting points...

Three things that have not general been reported but are interesting.

1. that about half the terrorists were from arab countries

2. that a mob tried to lynch one of the terroristis and then beat him to death

3. a female terrorist was found at a local hospital disguised as a nurse.

In the US the main story is the hurricane, and the fact that chubby Bill Clinton needs a heart operation. Amazing.

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Old 09-03-2004, 02:40 PM   #5
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the death rate seems to have gone up to 300 now!very sad day!
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Old 09-03-2004, 04:05 PM   #6
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Doug,

Of course now that the ordeal is over, you will see it pushed out of the way rather quickly, but I followed every bit of information on this as it became available quite readily. I thought U.S. media gave it more than enough attention. I woke up this morning and the raid was breaking news on all U.S. cable news networks, with live feeds.

Didn't hear anything about the nurse, but doesn't suprise me. Ditto for the revenge killing and nationality of the perpetrators.

BTW, was it "Spetsgruppe A" who went in?


Quote:
Originally Posted by DougD
Three things that have not general been reported but are interesting.

1. that about half the terrorists were from arab countries

2. that a mob tried to lynch one of the terroristis and then beat him to death

3. a female terrorist was found at a local hospital disguised as a nurse.

In the US the main story is the hurricane, and the fact that chubby Bill Clinton needs a heart operation. Amazing.

DougD
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Old 09-03-2004, 05:35 PM   #7
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coverage

the coverage has been more today due to the failed raid, but it was still coming in third in most outlets other than Fox, which did a pretty good job.

I got the lynching and nurse stories from Bulgarian news coverage of the event. Suprisingly it was pretty good.

DD
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Old 09-03-2004, 07:38 PM   #8
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over here in europe its getting loads of attention and rightly so i have to say! my thoughts and prayers go out to all the parents who lost children in this massacre!
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Old 09-04-2004, 11:58 AM   #9
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Doug,

I don't know what you were watching/listening to, every news outlet I saw or heard had it as top news, up to and including the failed raid.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DougD
the coverage has been more today due to the failed raid, but it was still coming in third in most outlets other than Fox, which did a pretty good job.

I got the lynching and nurse stories from Bulgarian news coverage of the event. Suprisingly it was pretty good.

DD
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Old 09-04-2004, 01:05 PM   #10
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cable

i was watching CNN and MSNBC; both had it, but it was third after Clinton and the Hurricane. On Euronews and BBC News not only was it first, they spent 10-15 minutes on the story, while the US coverage was limited to 4 to 5 minutes.

My main complaint is that the US news did a very poor job of connecting this with international Islamic terrorisim,and treated it more as an internal Russian matter against "rebels". There wasno mention of the fact that half the fighters were arab, that funding might have cme from Al-quaida, and that the "rebels" want to set up a Sharia Islamc law stata and are not freedom fighters.

Its the same complaint i have about the coverage of the 12 nepalese who were executed in Iraq; it was mentioned but nothing was said of the fact that one of the reasons they were executed was the terrorists said that they worshiped Buddha.

Its really important to connnect all these points if people are to understand the conections of international islamic terrorism. The US media has been doing a really poor job of this.


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