On September 1, 2004, a group of heavily armed Muslim terrorists stormed into a school in Beslan, Russia. For three days, more than a thousand children and adults were held hostage in a sweltering gymnasium, denied food and water, sexually abused, and forced to keep their hands over their heads. The harrowing siege ended on September 3 with a series of explosions and a hail of gunfire that killed more than 380 people – half of them children.
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 and sexual assaults of children and teachers by the Muslim 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 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). The hostage-takers were the Riyadus-Salikhin Battalion, sent by the Chechen Muslim 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.