MOSCOW -- A special ceremony commemorating the victims of the 2002 hostage crisis at Moscow's Dubrovka Theater has been held, RFE/RL's Russian Service reports.
On October 26, 2002, Russian security forces conducted an attack to release some 850 hostages held in the theater for three days by dozens of terrorists demanding the withdrawal of Russian troops from Chechnya.
After pumping gas into the theater, 39 of the hostage takers were pronounced dead and at least 129 hostages -- including several foreigners
-- lost their lives.
Russian authorities have never revealed which gas was used in the rescue operation or given a reliable number of casualties.
Relatives of the victims established a group to defend their rights shortly after the tragedy. They say Russian authorities are responsible for the deaths of their loved ones.
Soldiers laid flowers at the site and 130 white balloons were released into the sky to commemorate the victims.