The town of Beslan in Russia’s North Ossetia has begun three days of mourning to mark the 11th anniversary of a school hostage-taking that left 334 people dead, including 186 children.
The ceremony began on September 1 with the ringing of a school bell at the ruins of School No. 1 in Beslan.
Some 3,000 people visited the school's ruins, bringing flowers to the site.
Armed militants stormed School No. 1 on September 1, 2004, and took some 1,200 children, mothers, and teachers hostage.
Most of the hostages who died were killed when Russian security forces stormed the school and ended the three-day siege.
North Ossetia’s acting head, Tamerlan Aguzarov, said security had been beefed up throughout the North Caucasus republic as children started the new academic year.
Based on reporting by kavkaz-uzel.tu, TASS, and Interfax