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The Beslan school siege (also referred to as the Beslan school hostage crisis or the Beslan massacre) was a terrorist attack that started on 1 September 2004, lasted three days, involved the imprisonment of more than 1,100 people as hostages (including 777 children) and ended with the deaths of 333 people, 186 of them children, as well as 31 of the attackers. It is considered to be the deadliest school shooting in history.
|Beslan school siege|
|Part of the Second Chechen War, Terrorism in Russia and Islamic terrorism in Europe|
|Location||Beslan, North Ossetia-Alania (Russia)|
|Date||1 September 2004 |
~09:30 – 3 September 2004 ~17:00 (UTC+3)
|Target||School Number One (SNO)|
|Mass murder, hostage taking, terrorist attack, bombing, school shooting, shootout|
|Deaths||333 (excluding 31 terrorists)|
No. of participants
|Motive||Independence for Chechnya and the withdrawal of Russian troops|
The crisis began when a group of armed terrorists occupied School Number One (SNO) in the town of Beslan, North Ossetia (an autonomous republic in the North Caucasus region of Russia) on 1 September 2004. The hostage-takers were members of the Riyad-us Saliheen, sent by the Chechen warlord Shamil Basayev, who demanded Russian withdrawal from and recognition of the independence of Chechnya. On the third day of the standoff, Russian security forces stormed the building.
The event had security and political repercussions in Russia, leading to a series of federal government reforms consolidating power in the Kremlin and strengthening the powers of the President of Russia. Criticisms of the Russian government's management of the crisis have persisted, including allegations of disinformation and censorship in news media as well as questions about journalistic freedom, negotiations with the terrorists, allocation of responsibility for the eventual outcome and the use of excessive force.