From FoxNews: Negotiators Try to End Standoff at Russian School.
Heavily-armed terrorists wearing masks descended on Middle School No. 1 shortly after 9 a.m. on the opening day of the new school year Wednesday. About a dozen people managed to escape by hiding in a boiler room, but hundreds of others were herded into the school gymnasium and some were placed at windows as human shields.[...]
Casualty reports in the raid varied widely, but an official in the joint-command operation for the crisis said on condition of anonymity early Thursday that 16 people were killed — 12 inside the school, two who died in hospital and two others whose bodies still lay outside the school and could not be removed because of gunfire. Thirteen others were wounded.
However, an aide to North Ossetian President Lev Dzugayev said that seven were killed. He also gave the number of hostages at 354. The children were mostly under 14.[...]
From inside the school, the militants sent out a list of demands and threatened that if police intervened, they would kill 50 children for every hostage-taker killed and 20 children for every hostage-taker injured, Kazbek Dzantiyev, head of the North Ossetia region's Interior Ministry, was quoted as telling the ITAR-Tass news agency.
An early version of this story read: "Two bodies were visible near the school. Dzgoyev said a girl was also lying near the building, presumably wounded, but officials said the area could not be approached because it was coming under fire."
Around 9 am, an old truck pulled up and about 20 heavily armed terrorists dressed in black and wear black masks and 4 women with bomb belts came out. Children started to run. Those who were standing closest to the street were able to make it out. Terrorists starting pushing others towards the building, and throwing some children through windows (inside the building)(!!!). And elderly woman was shot, and a girl who looked like an 11th grader was shot in the back. She died on the spot. Kazik's sister is still a hostage.
What the major media, including the FoxNews story above, are not presently reporting is that the "rebels" are Islamic terrorists. (LGF has a survey of news stories here.) This may change as the story develops. Already the latest CNN report mentions in passing: "[Reporter] Quinn-Judge said the widespread assumption in the community was that they are rebels with links to Islamic radicals in Chechnya." [Emphasis added]
UPDATE III: From CNN: School siege suspect: We wanted to start a war
A suspect in the bloody school siege that left more than 330 people dead, nearly half of them children, said Monday the hostage-takers were ordered to seize the school to "start a war across the Caucasus." [Emphasis added]
Rebels linked to the school hostage-taking seek independence from Russia and most want to make Chechnya (news - web sites) a sovereign Muslim nation.
And from Mark Steyn: No other word for it but slaughter.
[T]he particular character of this "insurgency" does not derive from the requirements of "asymmetrical warfare" but from . . . well, let's see, what was the word missing from those three analyses of the Beslan massacre? Here's a clue: half the dead "Chechen separatists" were not Chechens at all, but Arabs. And yet, tastefully tiptoeing round the subject, The New York Times couldn't bring itself to use the words Muslim or Islamist, for fear presumably of offending multicultural sensibilities. [...]
I wonder if, as they killed those schoolchildren, they chanted "Allahu Akbar!" -- as they did when they hacked the head of Nick Berg, and killed those 12 Nepalese workers, and blew up those Israeli diners in the Passover massacre.
The good news is that the carnage in Beslan was so shocking it prompted a brief appearance by that rare bird, the moderate Muslim. Abdulrahman al-Rashed, the general manager of al-Arabiya Television, wrote a column in Asharq al-Awsat headlined, "The Painful Truth: All The World's Terrorists Are Muslims!" "Our terrorist sons are an end-product of our corrupted culture," he wrote. This is true. But, as with Nicolson's prettified prose in London, the question remains: So what? What are you going to do about it? If you want your religion to be more than a diseased death cult, you're going to have to take a stand.
Posted by Forkum at September 2, 2004 05:51 AM