The terrorists laughed at the suffering of children, who’d gone for days without water, food or sleep, says a survivor of the Russian school seized by what AP calls “rebels.”
BESLAN, Russia — Holding up the corpse of a man just shot dead in front of hundreds of hostages at a Russian school, the rebel –his pockets stuffed with ammunition and grenades — warned: “If a child utters even a sound, we’ll kill another one.”
When children fainted from lack of sleep, food and water, their masked and camouflaged captors simply sneered. In the intolerable heat of the gym, adults implored children to drink their own urine.
. . . “We were in complete fear,” said Alla Gadieyeva, 24, who spoke to an Associated Press reporter Friday as she lay collapsed in exhaustion on a stretcher outside a hospital. “People were praying all the time and those that didn’t know how to pray — we taught them.”
More than 200 children, parents and teachers reportedly were killed; about 1,200 had been taken hostage.
The school became a battlefield, with authorities deploying artillery, assault helicopters and tanks and the gunmen firing automatic weapons and grenades. In the chaos, escaping hostages were shot in the back. Booby trap bombs exploded inside the school. And the roof on a gym collapsed in a fiery heap. Fighting continued for about 12 hours as government troops sought to capture the last vestiges of the guerrilla forces, who had taken refuge in nearby houses and the school basement.
In that gym, Alan Karayev, a volunteer who entered to help bring out the bodies, saw a gruesome scene. “The whole floor is covered in bodies,” he said, estimating there were hundreds of dead children. “There is no ceiling at all. The roof all fell down on the children.”
Family members had crowded into the school for the ceremonial bell ringing to start the first day of classes.
I don’t know if this boy is dead or alive.
Update: Russian authorities now say 323 hostages, including 156 children, were killed in the siege. Hundreds remain hospitalized, with 69 in critical condition. In addition, 10 Russian soldiers died. Of 26 dead terrorists, 10 came from Arab countries, officials say.