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Chechen Separatist Said Responsible For Beslan Siege

17 September 2004 -- Chechen militant separatist Shamil Basaev is reported to have claimed responsibility for the school hostage siege in the southern Russian town of Beslan and other recent terrorist attacks in Russia.

A message posted on the pro-Chechen separatist Internet website says rebels commanded by Basaev had carried out a series of operations, including the hostage taking in Beslan.

No other confirmation of the claim was immediately available.

More than 320 people, about half of them children, were killed when the hostage crisis in the North Ossetian town ended in explosions and gunfire between hostage takers and Russian security forces on 3 September.