They Are Killing Us All

A terrorist siege at a Russian school ends in a ghastly battle that leaves hundreds dead

Sometimes it is the gift of children to keep their parents strong. Elena Kasumova felt her hope dying as she huddled last Friday with her son Timur, 9, in the sweltering gym of Beslan school No. 1. The hostage nightmare was into its third day: many children had stripped to their underwear, some fainted from thirst, and others drank their urine. The 16 guerrillas Kasumova could see, mostly Chechens in their 20s, were by now tired and tense. The ceiling beams were draped with bombs. Some were hanging so low that the taller women banged their heads on them as they...

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