POST. September 8, 2004
Child survivors of last week's terror attack on a Russian
school are to be airlifted to Israel for treatment at facilities
specializing in such care.
The children and their mothers will be flown here by the Michael
Cherney Fund, which was created after the Dolphinarium
suicide bomb attack, which killed 20 teenagers and wounded
over 100 in 2001. The Fund also helped the victims of a May
2002 bombing in south Russia, where 10 children were killed
and many more wounded.
On Tuesday night, Russians got a horrific glimpse of conditions
inside the Beslan school gymnasium when a television station
broadcast chilling images of the heavily armed, hooded assailants
amid the crowd of women, children and men. NTV television
said the pictures were recorded by the assailants presumably
so they could give an accounting to their leaders.
Footage showed terrorists preparing bombs in front of over
1,000 hostages in the cramped gymnasium.
Released only days after family members buried their children
and loved ones, the graphic images forced the world to peer
closely into the conditions that preceded the tragic deaths
of over 300 hostages.
Hooded black- and camouflage-clad terrorists wired bombs through
the basketball hoops while hostages sat, some calm, some frozen
in fear, in the gymnasium littered with explosive materials.
One attacker in camouflage and a black hood stood amid the
hostages with a boot on what NTV said was a book rigged with
A thick streak of blood stained the wood floor, as if a bleeding
body had been pulled across.
Various officials had previously leaked some details of the
investigation, but Wednesday's broadcast was the first attempt
by the government to give a formal account of the tragedy
that has gripped the nation for the past week. The prosecutor
said his information was based on interviews with witnesses
and the one alleged attacker detained by authorities.
One detainee, Nur-Pashi Kulayev, said the group's leader,
who went by the name Colonel, shot one of the militants and
said he would do the same to any other militants or hostages
who did not show "unconditional obedience."
Later that day, he detonated the explosives worn by two female
attackers, killing them, in order to enforce the lesson, Ustinov
Terrorists seized the Beslan school on September 1, a day
after a suicide bombing in Moscow killed 10 people and just
over a week after two Russian passenger planes crashed following
explosions and killed all 90 people aboard - two attacks authorities
suspect were linked to the war in Chechnya.
The official death toll of the three-day siege, which ended
in deadly explosions and gunfire, stood at 335, plus 30 attackers;
the regional Health Ministry said 326 of the dead had been
hostages, and the Emergency Situations Ministry said 156 of
the dead were children.