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Dozens Reported Dead in Russia Hostage Crisis - 2004-09-03


Reports from southern Russia say dozens of people have been killed in the school hostage crisis in the town of Beslan.

The Interfax news agency says some fatalities came after the roof collapsed in the gymnasium where hundreds of hostages were held since Wednesday.

Russian commandos stormed the building earlier today (Friday). Gunfire was exchanged with the militants and explosions were heard in the area.

The hostage-takers were calling for independence for Chechnya.

Reports say at least 300 people were injured. Naked and partially-clothed children ran from the scene. Bloodied victims were carried away on stretchers.

Reports say some attackers escaped by using children as human shields.

It is not clear how many people were in the school when the commandos struck. Some reports say as many as 1,500.

Information for this story is provided by AP, AFP

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