The Beslan school siege was a terrorist attack that started on September 1, 2004, lasted three days, involved the imprisonment of more than 1,100 people as hostages and ended with the deaths of 333 people, 186 of them children, as well as 31 of the attackers. It is considered to be the deadliest school shooting in human history.
The crisis began when a group of armed Chechen terrorists occupied School Number One in the town of Beslan, North Ossetia on 1 September 2004. The hostage-takers were members of the Riyad-us Saliheen, sent by the Chechen warlord Shamil Basayev, who demanded Russian withdrawal from and recognition of the independence of Chechnya. On the third day of the standoff, Russian security forces stormed the building with tanks, incendiary rockets and other heavy weapons.
The event had security and political repercussions in Russia, leading to a series of federal government reforms consolidating power in the Kremlin and strengthening the powers of the President of Russia. As of 2016, questions remained unanswered as to how many militants were involved, the nature of their preparation and whether a section of the group escaped.