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Russia school toll rises to 333; 260 missing
Vinay Shukla in Moscow |
September 05, 2004 15:47 IST
Three children succumbed to injuries taking the toll in Russia's school hostage crisis in Beslan in North Ossetia to 333 as parents and relatives continued to search for the 260 missing.
The number of dead hostages in Beslan has reached 333, ITAR=TASS quoted the North Ossetian Public Health Ministry as saying.
Three children died in hospital last night, it added.
The ministry earlier noted that the bodies of 323 people were carried out by rescuers from the school building while another seven victims died in hospitals.
Parents and relatives of 260 hostages of the bloody drama in Beslan school are still unable to trace their dear ones.
However, reports quoting morgue officials said the toll in the bloody drama in Beslan city climbed to at least 394.
In a parallel development North Ossetia's Interior Minister Kazbek Dzantiyev has resigned accepting the
responsibility for flaws in security leading to the Beslan school siege.
In all there were 1,184 hostages inside the school. Four forty eight are still in hospitals of which 69 were in critical condition, official spokesman for the North Ossetian administration Lev Dzugayev said.
Dzugayev did not rule out that many injured were still unconscious and they could not be identified. Scores of dead bodies, taken away to nearby regional capital Vladikavkaz for forensic analysis are also yet to be identified.
Meanwhile, first hostage victims are to be buried in Beslan today.
President Vladimir Putin has declared national mourning on Monday and Tuesday, when most of the terror
victims would be buried.
Meanwhile, the authorities have nabbed three suspected accomplices of school hostage-takers in Beslan,, including a woman. One of them was on wanted in connection with two terror blasts in North Ossetia earlier this year and daring militant raid on the capital of neighbouring Ingushtia's capital Nazran on June 22, ITAR-TASS reported.
Addressing the nation on television yesterday, a day after the school hostage crisis in southern Russia ended in carnage, Putin admitted failings by law enforcement agencies and said he would act to bolster the country's security.
"We have shown weakness in the face of danger and the weak get beaten up," said Putin, who had flown to the North Ossetian town of Beslan.
"We have not paid due attention to defence and security issues. we will, in the near future, take steps aimed at strengthening the unity of the country," the President said in the 10-minute address shown on both state television channels yesterday.
Children at the school had been celebrating the start of the new school year with parents and staff on Wednesday morning when they were seized by an armed group demanding independence for Chechnya.
The crisis ended in carnage on Friday as Russian troops moved in to end the siege after explosions were heard inside the building.