by John Hawkins | October 23, 2002 4:11 pm
Up To 1000 Russians Being Held Hostage By Chechen Terrorists: Breaking news out of Russia…
“Up to 30 gunmen, apparently Chechen rebels, have taken hundreds of hostages in a Moscow theatre and are threatening to blow it up if police storm the building.
Elite Russian troops have surrounded the theatre and officials say there are about 700 people inside.”
It gets worse…
“A teenager, among youngsters immediately released, said the group of 20-30 attackers had burst into the theatre, which was showing the musical “North-East”, one firing a burst of bullets into the ceiling.”
Some women were strapped with explosives and they said they would blow up the whole building in 10 minutes if they started to storm the building,” Denis Afanasyev, told Russian television.”
An earlier report I read said they released all the Muslims in the audience. I’d be very surprised at this point if there were any way to end this without massive casualties. My guess is that negotiating with these lunatics is probably futile. The best they can probably hope for it to kill these terrorists before they slaughter everyone in the theater. I wish Russia all the luck in the world on this one and I hope there’s some way the US can help.
***Update***: The BBC claims that there are as many as 100 terrorists involved, up to a 1000 members of the audience being held, and that explosives have been planted in the theater.
***Update #2***: The terrorists have reportedly laid mines in the theater.
***Update #3***: As if it could get any worse — from the Moscow Times,
“Interfax and Russian television, citing rebel web site Kavkaz.org, reported the attackers belong to a group headed by Movsar Barayev, a nephew of slain Chechen field commander Arbi Barayev. The web site could no longer be accessed in Moscow late Wednesday night.
…Barayev was quoted by kavkaz.org as saying that the gunmen arrived in Moscow “to die, not survive” and that 40 Chechen widows are participating in the attack, Interfax reported.”
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