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Four Days At Dubrovka

Ten years ago, on October 23, 2002, Chechen militants seized the Dubrovka theater in Moscow, taking some 900 people hostage. On October 26, Russian security forces launched a full-scale assault in which all the armed radicals and 130 hostages died. Most of the victims were killed by a narcotic gas pumped into the theater to subdue the hostage-takers. These photos show how the crisis unfolded over four agonizing days.

Representatives of Doctors Without Borders (Medecins Sans Frontieres) wave a white flag in an effort to gain access to the hostages.
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Representatives of Doctors Without Borders (Medecins Sans Frontieres) wave a white flag in an effort to gain access to the hostages.

Doctors remove a victim who had been shot by the militants.
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Doctors remove a victim who had been shot by the militants.

Reporters gather at the police cordon to wait for news from inside the theater.
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Reporters gather at the police cordon to wait for news from inside the theater.

Hostage Maria Shkolnikova leaves the theater with a letter in which the hostages urge Russian President Vladimir Putin to meet the militants' demands and withdraw Russian troops from Chechnya.
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Hostage Maria Shkolnikova leaves the theater with a letter in which the hostages urge Russian President Vladimir Putin to meet the militants' demands and withdraw Russian troops from Chechnya.

People gathered outside volunteer to take the place of the hostages.
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People gathered outside volunteer to take the place of the hostages.

Special task forces gather nearby on October 25.
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Special task forces gather nearby on October 25.

Representatives of the Red Cross gain access to the theater on October 25.
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Representatives of the Red Cross gain access to the theater on October 25.

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Security officers keep the area cordoned off.
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Security officers keep the area cordoned off.

On October 26, the fourth day of the hostage crisis, special forces stormed the theater. Here, doctors help a hostage wounded in the raid.
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On October 26, the fourth day of the hostage crisis, special forces stormed the theater. Here, doctors help a hostage wounded in the raid.

Troops carry out hostages, many of whom were badly affected by the gas pumped into the theater to subdue the militants.
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Troops carry out hostages, many of whom were badly affected by the gas pumped into the theater to subdue the militants.

The main explosive device planted by the militants, all of whom were killed in the raid
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The main explosive device planted by the militants, all of whom were killed in the raid

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