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Putin agrees to public inquiry into Beslan siege

Last Updated: Friday, September 10, 2004 | 1:03 PM ET

Russian President Vladimir Putin has agreed to a parliamentary inquiry into the standoff at the Beslan school that left at least 329 hostages dead.

Putin initially rejected such a public inquiry, saying only an internal investigation would be conducted.

But on Friday, Putin said his government was interested in "receiving a complete, objective picture of the tragic events."

President Vladimir Putin (File Photo)
President Vladimir Putin (File Photo)

The Kremlin has faced criticism over the government's handling of the three-day siege. Questions have been raised about the capabilities of Russian law enforcement and security agencies.

The upper house of Parliament, known as the Federation Council, would conduct the inquiry. There were no details about the inquiry or when it would take place.

In the siege, more than 1,000 children and adults were taken captive and herded into a gymnasium. The attackers wired the area with bombs.

Russian officials claim that during the standoff, one of the bombs accidentally went off, prompting some of the hostages to flee.

The militants fired on the hostages and Russian special forces stormed the building.

The announcement of the inquiry comes as Russian media reported that some of the captors had been previously arrested but then freed after paying off authorities.

Hostages have also claimed that some of the attackers boasted about being able to bribe their way through checkpoints at the Chechen border into North Ossetia.

Russian security officials identified 10 of the Beslan school hostage-takers Thursday, confirming that six of them came from the breakaway republic of Chechnya.

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