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Kremlin and strengthening of the powers of the President of Russia. 2017 ruling criticised Russia for not taking sufficient precautions before the event, and for using excessive lethal force when concluding the siege which violated the “right to life”. The school, located next to the district police station, had around 60 teachers and more than 800 students. The attack on the school took place in 2004 on 1 September—the traditional start of the Russian school year, referred to as “First Bell” or Knowledge Day.
On this day, the children, accompanied by their parents and other relatives, attend ceremonies hosted by their school. At 09:11 local time, the terrorists arrived at Beslan in a GAZelle police van and a GAZ-66 military truck. Many witnesses and independent experts claim that there were, in fact, two groups of attackers, and that the first group was already at the school when the second group arrived by truck. The attackers took approximately 1,100 hostages.
400, and then for an unknown reason announced to be exactly 354. In 2005, their number was put at 1,128. 20 of whom they thought were the strongest adults among the male teachers, school employees, and fathers, and took them into a corridor next to the cafeteria on the second floor, where a deadly blast soon took place. In a further bid to deter rescue attempts, they threatened to kill 50 hostages for every one of their own members killed by the police, and to kill 20 hostages for every gunman injured. At Russia’s request, a special meeting of the United Nations Security Council was convened on the evening of 1 September, at which the council members demanded “the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages of the terrorist attack.
On September 2, 2004, negotiations between Roshal and the hostage-takers proved unsuccessful, and they refused to allow food, water, or medicine to be taken in for the hostages, or for the dead bodies to be removed from the front of the school. Several officials also said there appeared to be only 15 to 20 militants in the school. In the afternoon, the gunmen allowed Ruslan Aushev, respected ex-President of Ingushetia and retired Soviet Army general, to enter the school building and agreed to release 11 nursing women and all 15 babies personally to him. The lack of food and water took its toll on the young children, many of whom were forced to stand for long periods in the hot, tightly packed gym. Many children took off their clothing because of the sweltering heat within the gymnasium, which led to rumours of sexual impropriety, though the hostages later explained it was merely due to the stifling heat and being denied any water. Many children fainted, and parents feared they would die. Some hostages drank their own urine.
At around 15:30, two grenades were detonated approximately ten minutes apart by the militants at security forces outside the school, setting a police car on fire and injuring one officer, but Russian forces did not return fire. Overnight, a police officer was injured by shots fired from the school. Talks were broken off, resuming the next day. First Deputy Chairman Izrail Totoonti together made contact with President of the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria, Aslan Maskhadov. Russian presidential advisor and former police general, an ethnic Chechen Aslambek Aslakhanov, was also said to be close to breakthrough in the secret negotiations. By the time he left Moscow on the second day, Aslakhanov had accumulated the names of more than 700 well-known Russian figures who were volunteering to enter the school as hostages in exchange for the release of children. Around 13:00 on 3 September 2004, it was agreed to allow four Ministry of Emergency Situations medical workers in two ambulances to remove 20 bodies from the school grounds, as well as to bring the corpse of the killed terrorist to the school.
However, at 13:03, when the paramedics approached the school, an explosion was heard from the gymnasium. The second, “strange-sounding”, explosion was heard 22 seconds later. At 13:05 the fire on the roof of the sports hall started and soon the burning rafters and roofing fell onto the hostages below, many of them injured but still living. Eventually, the entire roof collapsed, turning the room into an inferno. In the final report, Alexander Torshin, head of the Russian parliamentary commission which concluded its work in December 2006, said the militants had started the battle by intentionally detonating bombs among the hostages, to the surprise of Russian negotiators and commanders. That statement went beyond previous government accounts, which have typically said the bombs exploded in an unexplained accident. According to the December 2005 report by Stanislav Kesayev, deputy speaker of North Ossetian parliament, some witnesses said a federal forces sniper shot a militant whose foot was on a dead man’s switch detonator, triggering the first blast.