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North Ossetian Government To Resign

Nearly half of those killed were children (file photo) 8 September 2004 -- Aleksandr Dzasokhov, the president of the Russian republic of North Ossetia, said today in the capital of Vladikavkaz that his government will step down amid criticism of its handling of the Beslan school siege.

"In the next two days I will issue a decree dismissing the [North Ossetian] government," he said.

Dzasokhov made the promise as hundreds of people protested in Vladikavkaz today against the authorities handling of the school siege that left some 330 people dead and over 700 others wounded. Nearly half of those killed were children.

The Russian government today offered a reward of $10 million for information leading to the "neutralization" of Chechen President Aslan Maskhadov or separatist commander Shamil Basaev, who Russian officials claim were behind the school hostage-taking raid.

The chief of Russia's General Staff, Colonel General Yurii Baluyevskii, said today that Moscow is prepared to launch preemptive strikes on terrorist bases anywhere in the world.