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September 2, 2006

Beslan victims mourned in Russia two years after tragedy

Filed under: Global Jihad, Islam, Multi Kulti, Terror — limewoody @ 8:36 am

MOSCOW – Hundreds of people converged on Friday on the ruins of school Number One in the southern Russian town of Beslan to mourn the 333 victims killed in the 2004 terrorist attack on the building.

Relatives laid wreaths, lit candles and left photographs of the dead in the gymnasium, where Chechen-led gunmen took more than 1,100 children, teachers and parents hostage on September 1.

Russian forces mounted a bloody storming operation on the third day of the crisis as explosives strung among the captives blew up with devastating effect.The Kremlin’s envoy for southern Russia, Dmitry Kozak, also laid a floral tribute at the site of the country’s worst terrorist attack.“The tragic events of September 2004 are another page that cannot simply be turned or not spoken about,” Kozak said amid lingering questions about the official account of events.Many Beslan families hold the Russian authorities responsible for the high number of hostages killed, including 186 children, claiming that the crisis was mismanaged and that excessive force was used in the chaotic rescue operation.Shortly before the anniversary, Russian media quoted a member of the investigating state commission as saying the commando assault and ensuing shoot-out was triggered by the use by security forces of heavy weapons, including flame-throwers and rockets.As the charges exploded in the sports hall, the gunmen opened fire on the hostages as they tried to flee the building.The order to launch a full-scale assault was given by officers of Russia’s FSB security service, the inquiry member, parliamentarian Yury Savelyev, said.Other members of the Kremlin-controlled commission accused him of ”political intrigues.”Meanwhile, the general prosecutor’s office in Moscow said the inquiry into the events in Beslan would be extended from the September deadline until January 2007.Thirty-one terrorists were killed in the fighting, according to official accounts. The sole survivor of their group, Nurpashi Kulayev, was sentenced in May to life imprisonment despite calls for the reinstatement of the death penalty in Russia.A monument to a dozen security forces personnel and civil defence workers who also died in the hostage-release operation was unveiled Friday in Beslan’s cemetery.On September 3, a minute of silence will be observed in the republic of North Ossetia where Beslan is situated. At 13.05 local time, when the first explosions occurred, school children will launch 333 balloons in memory of the victims.The chairwoman of the Beslan Mothers public organization, Susanna Dudiyeva, told the Itar-Tass news agency that more than one billion rubles (37.5 million US dollars) were paid onto an account to help those who suffered in the siege.Dudiyeva also praised the role of international humanitarian organizations that rendered psychological assistance to Beslan residents over the past two years.


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