On September 1, 2004, more than 1,100 parents and children arrived for the first day of school at School No 1 in Beslan. They were greeted by heavily armed Islamic separatist gunmen, Chechen Muslims, who held them hostage for three days. In a bloody climax, more than 380 people were massacred and many more injured, including children, in a series of explosions and firefights, not to mention many rapes of children and teachers by the terrorists. Once a sleepy town of around 35,000 in North Ossetia, bordering Muslim Chechnya, where Russia has fought 2 wars against Muslim separatists, Beslan has become synonymous with the masscare, and residents still live in fear.
The Beslan school hostage crisis and massacre lasted three days and involved the capture of over 1,100 people as hostages (including 777 children), ending with the death of over 380 people.
The crisis began when armed Islamic separatist militants, mostly Chechen Muslim, occupied School Number One (SNO) in the town of Beslan, North Ossetia (an autonomous republic in the North Caucasus region of the Russian Federation) on 1 September 2004. The hostage-takers were the Riyadus-Salikhin Battalion, sent by the Chechen separatist warlord Shamil Basayev, who demanded recognition of the independence of Chechnya at the UN and Russian withdrawal from Chechnya.
On the third day of the standoff, Russian security forces entered the building with the use of tanks, incendiary rockets, tanks, incendiary rockets and other heavy weapons. At least 380 hostages were killed as a result of the crisis, including 186 children, with a significant number of people injured and reported missing.