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Rebel raid on Russian school

Moscow, Sept. 1 (Reuters): A heavily armed gang seized up to 400 hostages at a Russian school near Chechnya today and threatened to kill 50 children for any member of the group killed, a senior local official said.

Itar-Tass news agency said negotiations had begun with the gang of 17 men and women who stormed the secondary school in Beslan in North Ossetia province during a morning ceremony to mark the first day of the new school year.

The assault bears the signs of a Chechen rebel operation and is the latest in a recent spate of deadly attacks in Russia which have killed more than 100 people. As dusk fell, there were no signs of any end to the siege.  

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