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Gunmen in Southern Russia Threaten to Kill Children - 2004-09-01


Gunmen who have taken at least 200 people hostage at a school in southern Russia are threatening to kill some of their captives.

Authorities in the republic of North Ossetia say the assailants threatened to kill 50 children for every attacker who is killed, and 20 children for each one injured.

The gunmen seized the building on the first day of classes at the school in Beslan, north of the regional capital, Vladikavkaz. Two people were killed in the assault.

Russian officials say the assailants are wearing belts with explosives and have threatened to blow up the school if police storm it.

Russian media say the attackers are demanding that Russia release some rebels.

Russian President Vladimir Putin met with top security officials after returning to Moscow from the Black Sea resort of Sochi to deal with the crisis..

North Ossetia borders the war-torn republic of Chechnya.

Information for this report is provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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