|A Russian police officer carries a released baby from the school seized by heavily armed masked men and women in the town of Beslan (Reuters / Viktor Korotayev)|
Thousands of people are taking part in three days of remembrance ceremonies to mark nine years since the Beslan school siege in north Ossetia – Russia’s deadliest terrorist attack.
Local people are expected to flock to the site of the tragedy to light candles, leave toys and flowers and pay tribute to the victims of the attack, which left 334 people dead, 318 of them hostages, including 186 children. Funeral music will be played at the school's gym, which was turned into a memorial site after the attack.
Over a thousand people were taken hostage in Beslan’s Secondary School No. 1 on September 1, 2004, the first day back at school after summer vacation. The hostages were held at gunpoint and denied water, food or medical help for three days.
On September 3, the siege came to an end after terrorists, calling for a separate Chechnya, detonated explosives in the gym and security forces intervened to free the hostages. As well as the dead, the siege left 810 people were wounded. Seventeen children lost both parents. The cemetery where the victims of the siege are buried is described locally as the “Town of Little Angels.”
The children of Beslan tell their stories: BBC Videos.
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