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On 1 September 2004, a group of terrorists seized more than 1,200 hostages in School Number One in the North Ossetian town of Beslan. It was the first day of the new school year. The deadliest hostage crisis in history was about to unfold.
Based on exhaustive open source research in three languages, examination of thousands of pages of witness testimonies and court transcripts, extensive field research in Beslan, Chechnya, and Ingushetia, and dozens of interviews with hostages, witnesses, relatives, negotiators, and investigators, this report will analyze the various myths and contradictory accounts of the attack, with particular reference to the failed negotiations.