BESLAN, Russia -- The southern Russian town of Beslan has marked the 14th anniversary of a school hostage-taking attack that ended with 334 people dead after a botched rescue, including 186 children.
More than 1,000 people on September 3 took part in the mourning ceremony at the ruins of the School No. 1 in Beslan in the North Ossetia region.
A bell tolled twice at 1:05 p.m. to mark the first two explosions after which Russian troops started the attack on the school 14 years ago.
During a minute of silence, schoolchildren released 334 balloons to commemorate the victims.
The three days of mourning began on September 1.
Ceremonies were also held in Moscow and other Russian cities.
Militants, demanding the withdrawal of Russia's federal troops from Chechnya, 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.
In April 2017, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that Russia must pay nearly 3 million euros to the relatives of the Beslan victims, saying that Russian authorities failed to protect the schoolchildren, teachers, and parents.