- Title: Russia marks fifteenth anniversary of deadly Beslan school siege
- Date: 1st September 2019
- Summary: PHOTOGRAPHS OF CHILDREN KILLED DURING HOSTAGE CRISIS
- Embargoed: 15th September 2019 17:44
- Keywords: Beslan school siege fifteenth anniversary mourning ceremony Beslan school victims victim. Alla Bitsiyeva interview
- Location: BESLAN, NORTH OSSETIA, RUSSIA
- City: BESLAN, NORTH OSSETIA, RUSSIA
- Country: Russia
- Topics: Conflicts/War/Peace
- Reuters ID: LVA002AUTTV7R
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: EDITORS PLEASE NOTE: PART AUDIO QUALITY AS INCOMING
CONTAINS GRAPHIC IMAGES
Hundreds of Russians gathered in the Northern Caucasus town of Beslan on Sunday (September 1) to mourn the victims of the deadly school siege that took place there 15 years ago.
On September 1, 2004, dozens of masked gunmen seized School No. 1 in Beslan, North Ossetia, wired it with explosives and demanded an end to the war in neighbouring Chechnya.
They held more than 1,000 people hostage for three days, withholding food and drinking water and killing many of the male hostages.
In a bloody climax on September 3, an explosion in the sports hall prompted security forces to start storming the school. Three hundred thirty-three people, rescuers among them, were killed in the ensuing firefight - 186 of them children.
On Sunday, mourners attended the memorial ceremony at the bullet-scarred gymnasium, where photographs of the dead lined the walls.
Alla Bitsiyeva, a former hostage who was 16 years old when it happened, said she could hardly remember the details of the storming on the third day, as she was unconscious after staying three days in the hot gymnasium without food or water.
She said it was still hard for her, especially during these memorial days, when she comes to the former school gym to remember her classmates killed in the siege.
A Russian inquiry into the tragedy failed to reach any conclusions and no Russian officials have been held accountable for the deaths.
The commemoration ceremonies will continue for the three upcoming days, with people paying respect at the cemetery where most of the victims are buried.
(Production: Eduard Korniyenko, Maria Stromova)
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