The head of the Russian parliamentary commission investigating last year's Beslan school siege said Wednesday that the operation to free hostages was riddled by "miscalculations and shortcomings," the RIA-Novosti news agency reported. Alexander Torshin was summing up the results of the probe so far in the upper house of parliament, while victims' families expressed outrage at a prosecutors' report that exonerated the authorities over the deaths of 331 people in the terrifying hostage-taking.
He said that Russian Interior Minister Rashid Nurgaliyev and his deputy had sent telegrams less than two weeks before the militants' raid instructing the regional police department in North Ossetia, where Beslan is located, to beef up security on the first day of school.
"These instructions could have prevented the terrorist act or interfered with its being carried out, but they were not followed," he was quoted as saying, reports the AP. I.L.