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Day of Mourning in Russia for School Hostages  - 2004-09-06


Today (Monday) is a national day of mourning across Russia for the victims of last week's terrorist hostage taking at a school in Beslan, North Ossetia.

The two-day hostage drama turned deadly Friday when the gunmen and Russian soldiers opened fire, leaving more than 350 men, women and children dead.

The gunmen held more than one thousand captives. More than 700 were injured and about 260 others are still reported as missing. Many of the victims were buried Sunday.

The captors may have set off explosives when some of the hostages tried to escape, prompting the Russian forces to open fire.

Russian President Vladimir Putin admitted weakness by Russian forces, but promised an all-out war against terrorism.

More than 30 suspected Chechen separatists took over the school. Some Russian reports say Islamic militants from other parts of Russia and Central Asia may have also been involved.

Most of the gunmen were killed. Three alleged accomplices have been arrested.

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

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