BESLAN, Russia -- The southern Russian town of Beslan has begun three days of mourning to mark the 13th anniversary of a school hostage-taking attack that ended with 334 people dead after a botched rescue, including 186 children.
The ceremony began on September 1 with the ringing of a bell at the ruins of School No. 1 in Beslan, in the North Ossetia region.
People attending the ceremony brought flowers, candles, and bottles of water -- a gesture to the victims, who were held for over two days in the stifling-hot school with very little water to drink.
Regional officials, residents, relatives of the victims, and members of the Mothers of Beslan NGO were among those attanding the commemoration.
Militants stormed School No. 1 on September 1, 2004 -- the first day of school -- and took some 1,200 children, parents, teachers, and staff hostage.
Most of the hostages who died were killed when Russian security forces stormed the school on September 3.
Beslan: Three Days Of Terror (Click Image to open photo gallery)
In April, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that Russia must pay nearly 3 million euros to relatives of Beslan victims, saying that Russian authorities failed to protect the schoolchildren, teachers, and parents.