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Russian School Siege September 1, 2004 – September 3, 2004

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Russian School Siege September 1, 2004 – September 3, 2004. Russian School Siege September 1, 2004. Presentation Agenda. Russian School Siege – What happened; The Terrorists; The Tactics; Contrasts to Columbine, CO and Red Lake, MN; and Useful Preparedness Guides and Websites.

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russian school siege september 1 2004
Russian School SiegeSeptember 1, 2004

Presentation Agenda

  • Russian School Siege – What happened;
  • The Terrorists;
  • The Tactics;
  • Contrasts to Columbine, CO and Red Lake, MN; and
  • Useful Preparedness Guides and Websites
russian school siege september 1 20043
Russian School SiegeSeptember 1, 2004

Overview

  • Forty one masked men and women with explosives and automatic weapons, seized a school in North Ossetia holding over 1,000 civilians hostages, including over 200 children
  • The attackers threatened to kill 50 children for every one of their own killed and 20 for every one wounded
  • The rebels provided a set of demands including the immediate withdrawal and end of operations of federal troops from Chechnya and the release of rebels arrested in raids on Ingushetia in June 2003
  • The New York Times reported that the attackers claimed to be part of "The Second Group of Salakhin Riadus Shakhidi,“ affiliated to Chechen warlord Shamil Basayev
  • There were 338 casualties and 704 wounded
russian school siege september 1 20044
Russian School SiegeSeptember 1, 2004

Modus Operandi

  • At approximately 0930 local time, 41 terrorists stormed a Middle School in Beslan, North Ossetia, 10 km west of the border with Ingushetia, and opened fire in the courtyard as a ceremony marking the beginning of the school year was taking place (the strategic date ensured that many parents were inside along with teachers and children)
  • Reports say the terrorists arrived from neighboring Ingushetia in a stolen military truck
  • The terrorists forced over 1,000 (unconfirmed number) children and adults in to the school gym and wired the building and surrounding area with at least 15 IEDs while threatening to blow up the school if Federal forces tried to storm it
  • Regional health officials initially reported that four people were killed and 10 wounded in the early hours of the siege, including two police officers guarding the school who resisted the attackers
russian school siege september 1 20045
Russian School SiegeSeptember 1, 2004

1 – Main Entrance

2 - Area where gunfire began

3 - Hostages were being held in the school gym, which was reportedly packed with explosives and mines

4 - Side entrance

5 - There were reports of children being used as human shields at the back windows

6 - As the attack began a number of hostages hid in the boiler room and later escaped (Source: BBC News)

russian school siege september 2 2004
Russian School SiegeSeptember 2, 2004

Negotiations

  • The attackers reportedly passed a note to security forces demanding the withdrawal of Russian troops from Chechnya and the release of Ingush militants who were arrested in a June raid
  • The terrorists refused to negotiate with anyone but three men, including: North Ossetian President Alexander Dzasokhov; Ingush President Murat Zyazikov; and Leonid Roshal, a doctor who negotiated with the Chechen rebels in the 2002 Dubrovka Theater seizure in Moscow
  • 26 hostages, including women and children, were released Tuesday morning due to efforts made by negotiators

Militants fired rocket-propelled grenades at two cars that got too close to the school

russian school siege storming the school friday september 3 2004
Russian School Siege Storming the SchoolFriday, September 3, 2004
  • 1249 – Russian officials made an agreement with the rebels to send in vehicles to remove dead bodies from the September 1 attacks
  • 1305 - Shortly after the vehicles arrived, terrorists began shooting at the Russian personnel approaching the bodies. At the same time some of the children began running from the gym and terrorists began shooting at them
  • 1320 - Two explosions were heard and the shooting intensified around the school. Russian security forces began to storm the school and several people were killed in the chaotic battle to free children, parents and teachers who had been held hostage for 53 hours. Several hundred hostages began to escape the school while gunfire was exchanged between soldiers and rebels
  • 1335 -Commandos used low-yield explosions to make a hole in a school wall to create another way out for hostages
  • 1630 – The hostage seizure crisis at the school appeared to be ending
russian school siege storming the school friday september 3 20048
Russian School Siege Storming the SchoolFriday, September 3, 2004
  • Ongoing -According to media reports three hostage-takers are blocked up in the basement of the Beslan school, including the leader of the group, and an unknown number of hostages – some of them children (Interfax)
  • Ongoing -Security forces have launched an operation in downtown Beslan, North Ossetia, to track down the terrorists who may have escaped from the school building after the release of hostages. Some of the terrorists changed from their militants’ gear to civilian clothing and were able evade security forces
  • Ongoing – Local officials are searching for two female terrorists that escaped reportedly wearing “suicide belts” under their clothes in Beslan
  • Valery Andreyev, head of the local branch of the FSB intelligence service, said 20 hostage-takers had been killed, ten of them from Arab countries
  • Interfax reported more than 100 dead hostages were found in the gymnasium. An estimated 520 hostages were wounded, including approximately 218 children (No casualty count has been confirmed)
russian school siege suspected terrorists
Russian School SiegeSuspected Terrorists
  • The Russian authorities are blaming Chechen separatists, who have been fighting for independence from Moscow for the past decade
  • The New York Times reported that a spokesman for the attackers said they were part of "The Second Group of Salakhin Riadus Shakhidi." Salakhin Riadus Shakhidi is a battalion of suicide fighters formed and headed by Chechen warlord Shamil Basayev
  • Itar-Tass reported that the attack had been planned by Shamil Basayev and led by field commander Magomet Yevloyev. The source said there was information that it had been financed by Abu Omar As-Seyf, who was believed to be al-Qaeda\'s representative in Chechnya
  • Chechen rebel leader Aslan Maskhadov has denied that his forces were involved in the siege, but did not rule out a “Basayev accomplice” as being responsible
  • Additional reports also suggest that Ingush rebels who attacked security forces in Ingushetia in June; or a North Ossetian-based rebel group may also be the suspected terrorists

Shamil Basayev

russian school siege september 1 200410
Russian School SiegeSeptember 1, 2004

TACTICS

  • Chechens copied al Qaeda
  • Will released small group
  • Negotiations key
  • Explosive booby traps and access denial
  • Terrorist willing to die
  • Prepared to massacre large numbers
  • Intend to have media attention as key role
  • Disguise and deception
  • Will attempt to leave
  • Well trained and tactically capable of extreme
school shootings
School Shootings

Contrasts

  • Russian Siege;
  • Columbine, CO High School April 20, 1999 – Dylan Klebold, Eric Harris
  • Red Lake, MN High School March 28, 2005 – Jeff Weise
useful websites
Useful Websites

1. U.S. Department of State Consular Affairs, Consular Information Sheet, Russia

http://travel.state.gov/travel/russia.html

2. Overseas Security Advisory Council, 2004 Crime and Safety Report, Russia

http://www.ds-osac.org/view.cfm?key=7744564A40&type=3D13151D011112

3. U.S. Embassy in Moscow, Russia

http://www.usembassy.ru

contact information
Contact Information

SA David C. Cudmore

FBI

Joint Terrorism Task Force, Kansas City Division

(816) 512-8200

[email protected]

Editor’s Note: This report was derived from various media sources including Associated Press, Agence France-Presse, BBC News, CNN, Interfax, International Herald Tribune, Itar-Tass, Moscow Times, New York Times, and various unclassified Embassy reporting.

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