SAFER SCHOOLS NEWS-VOL. 76
School Held Hostage by Terrorists with possible al Qaeda
Up Date – September 3, 2004
as of 11:00 am CT
Tues – September 1, 2004
Beslan, Russia, September 1, 2004: 200 Students plus 200 others are being held hostage by terrorists wearing Suicide belts.
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Beslan, Russia, September 1, 2004: At least eight people are dead according to initial reports:
Possibly 400 people, including 200 children, were today taken hostage in a school in Beslan Russia.
It is reported that a group of heavily-armed terrorists stormed the secondary school, in the city of Beslan, during a ceremony being held to mark the first day of the new school year. It is additionally reported that hostage-takers have since freed 15 of the students.
At initial reports at least two people were killed and nine injured when the school was stormed. Although, it is currently being reported that up to 8 have been killed. One dead included a father who was taking his son to school and had attempted to resist the terrorists, and one of the attackers, who was shot by police.
The Russian news reported that the attackers had mined the school’s gymnasium and threatened to blow it up if security forces attempted to intervene. A regional police official told the Associated Press that the hostages had been herded into the gym building.
Russia’s security service, confirmed that between 17 and 30 attackers – some believed to have been wearing explosives – stormed the school this morning.
Around 50 children managed to escape shortly after the terrorists struck. The pupils, who had apparently hidden when the attack began, started to leave in small groups when the shooting died down.
Belsan is in the republic of North Ossetia, which borders wartorn Chechnya. The identities or origin of the kidnappers were not known, but their tactics and demands suggest they are Chechen separatist rebels.
Itar-Tass reported that the attackers had demanded the release of fighters seized in the neighboring province of Ingushetia during a huge rebel raid on the region in June.
Today’s seizure came hours after a suicide bomber last night killed 10 people and injured more than 50 outside a Moscow subway station. Last week, terrorists were blamed after two Russian airliners crashed, killing 90 people. These attaches believe to have some connection to al Qaeda.
On Sunday, presidential elections were held in Chechnya – a Kremlin-baked move aimed at undermining support for insurgents by establishing a degree of civil order in the republic.
Fears that Chechen rebels aimed to take their fight outside the republic’s borders increased in June after insurgents launched a coordinated series of attacks on police facilities in neighboring Ingushetia, killing more than 90 people.
In a video released several days after the attack, a man appearing to be Basayev claimed responsibility for the assaults, saying his fighters had seized huge quantities of arms from police arsenals.
Once again we ask ourselves, “Have we done all that we can to insure the safety of our schools?” Keys To Safer Schools.com is making a special offer to any school to review your crisis planning and provide a written critique of any shortcomings found. To take advantage of this offer, mail your school’s Emergency/Crisis Response Plan and supporting documents to:
Keys To Safer Schools.com
P.O. Box 296
Bryant, AR 72089-0296.
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