This Happened — September 1: Beslan School Hostage Crisis
The Beslan school hostage crisis began on this day in 2004.
What was the Beslan school hostage crisis?
The Beslan school hostage crisis was a violent terrorist attack that occurred in September 2004, in the town of Beslan, North Ossetia, Russia. Armed militants took over School Number One, holding hostage more than one thousand people, mostly children and their parents, for several days in the school's gymnasium. The crisis lasted for three days, during which hostages were denied food, water, and medical attention.
What were the motivations behind the attack?
The hostage-takers were a group of Chechen separatist militants, primarily from the Riyadus-Salikhin Reconnaissance and Sabotage Battalion of Chechen Martyrs. They sought to gain attention for their cause of Chechen independence from Russia and to put pressure on the Russian government to end the conflict in Chechnya. They believed that a large-scale, high-profile attack would draw international attention to their struggle.
What were the outcomes of the crisis?
The crisis ended in a violent and chaotic rescue attempt by Russian security forces on September 3, 2004. The rescue operation resulted in a firefight and explosions, causing numerous casualties, including many hostages. Over 330 people, including 186 children, lost their lives, and hundreds more were injured. The aftermath led to significant public outcry and criticism of both the militants and the Russian government's handling of the crisis.
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