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Russian Commission Says Planes Were Attacked

15 September 2004 -- The commission investigating the crashes of two Russian airliners last month confirmed today that the planes were brought down by onboard explosions.

Transport Minister Igor Levitin, head of the commission, said the crashes have been formally classified as incidents of "terrorism."

All 89 people on board were killed when the two planes went down almost simultaneously on 24 August.

Russian officials and media reports have already blamed the crashes on female suicide bombers allegedly from Chechnya.

The plane crashes were just two of a series of recent attacks in Russia that killed more than 430 people.

In Beslan, where a massive hostage-taking siege ended in the killing of more than 300 children and their parents, schools reopened today for the first time since the crisis. But there were no plans to reopen the school where the siege started on 1 September, the first day of school in Russia.


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