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Russian Officials: Some 200 Dead As School Siege Ends

4 September 2004 -- More details are emerging from southern Russia where a hostage crisis at a school came to a bloody end yesterday. Russian officials say at least 200 people -- many of them children -- were killed when Russian special forces launched an assault to free hostages being held by suspected Chechen militants at a school in the North Ossetian town of Beslan.

The Emergencies Ministry says more than 700 people have been hospitalized, nearly 260 of them children. ITAR-TASS quotes military headquarters in Beslan as saying all resistance has now been quelled at the school compound.

Officials overseeing the operation said Russian forces had killed 27 hostage takers, among the dead were Arabs, Russian officials said. Three hostage takers were reportedly captured alive.

Russian security officials said troops had to assault the school after hostage takers fired on children trying to escape amid large explosions.