Incidents » Terrorism
Author`s name Ольга Савка

Released hostages say about 1,500 may be held at seized school

All men, who attempted to show resistance to the terrorists, were killed

Over a thousand people are likely to be held hostage in the North Ossetian town of Beslan in southern Russia. One of the released hostages, Adel Itskayeva, told a Gazeta correspondent there were 1,020 hostages in the seized school. When the woman was told the official data – 354 hostages, she was more than just surprised: “Are you crazy? There are 1,020 people in there!” the woman said.

Another released hostage, 27-year-old Zalina Dzandarova, said in an interview with the Kommersant that terrorists had seized not just about 400, but about 1,500 people at school. “People are lying on the floor next to one another. The terrorists separated us. Those, who did not feel very good, were placed in locker rooms. They made male hostages break the windows, because it was too stuffy in the gym,” Dzandarova said. The woman also said that there were a lot of wounded people during the first minutes of the terrorist attack. The militants shot those, who could not walk inside the building or remained lying on the ground of the school yard. Zalina Dzandzarova also said that two suicide bombers had killed themselves on Wednesday – they exploded themselves in the corridor, where male hostages were being kept.

All men, who attempted to show resistance to the terrorists (about 20 men) were killed too. At first the terrorists allowed to bring some water to the hostages from the shower room. However, they were later irritated with the fact that North Ossetian and Ingushetian leaders were not intended to negotiate, and the terrorists did not allow to give water to anyone after that, not even to children.

According to the Gazeta newspaper, the school in Beslan counts 890 pupils and 59 teachers. Children's parents and relatives attended the morning holiday on September 1, when the terrorists attacked the school. Therefore, the number of hostages may triple the officially published figure of 354 people, the Gazeta wrote.

The released hostages, the newspaper wrote, were forbidden to talk to reporters. The terrorists said they would start killing the hostages otherwise.