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  Wednesday, December 11, 2019
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Russia commemorates the victims of a hostage-taking massacre at a school in the town of Beslan
Russia commemorates the victims of a hostage-taking massacre at a school in south Russia, which claimed 331 lives, including 186 children, two years ago. A group of militants seized secondary school No. 1 in the town of Beslan, 30 km northwest of Vladikavkaz, the capital of Russia's republic of North Ossetia, September 1, 2004, killing 17 in the first few hours. The three-day school siege, orchestrated by Chechen warlord Shamil Basaev, who was killed in a Special Forces operation this summer, ended when troops stormed the school and rescued about 1,000 people. Mourning music will play and candles will stay lit in front of the school for three days. People are arriving at the scene, carrying flowers, wreaths, candles, and photographs of their lost relatives. Two black granite slabs, with water flowing over them to symbolize the never-ending tears, were put up last year at the entrance to the school gym, where the hostages were kept during the siege. A monument to Special Forces officers who died saving the lives of the hostages will be unveiled at a local cemetery Friday. A total of 12 law enforcement personnel were killed and 55 wounded in the hostage rescue operation, according to a parliamentary commission report. Spain's philharmonic orchestra, conducted by Ramon Toreldo, will perform in commemoration of the victims at a city concert hall September 2. On September 3, a minute of silence will be observed at 1:05 p.m. local time (9:05 a.m. GMT). Memorial events will also include a wreath laying ceremony at the Tree of Sorrow at a local cemetery.
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