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Thursday, 24 October, 2002, 12:01 GMT 13:01 UK
In pictures: Moscow theatre siege
Chechen rebels have stormed a packed cultural centre in the south west of Moscow, taking up to 800 theatre-goers hostage during a performance of the hit musical Nord-Ost.

The hostage-takers are threatening to detonate explosives if Russian police stage a rescue attempt.

Police car outside theatre
Nord-Ost (North-East) is a popular family show for Russian audiences

Russian special forces
Russian special forces were quickly on the scene

Armoured personnel carriers, special forces and interior ministry troops
Armoured vehicles and regular troops have sealed off the area

Among the first people to be released were children
Russian police said the rebels freed about 200 people, including women, children, Muslims and some foreigners

A released hostage (black jacket) is comforted by police inside a police bus
Released hostages were immediately taken to a police bus

Relatives waiting outside the theatre.
But many relatives have been waiting for news of their loved ones

Movsar Barayev
The raid is said to have been led by Movsar Barayev, nephew of the late Chechen warlord Arbi Barayev

Sniper
As negotiations with the attackers have so far failed to resolve the crisis, troops were preparing for a tense standoff

Siege reports

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Chechen conflict

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19 Aug 02 | Europe
09 Sep 02 | Europe
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18 Oct 02 | Country profiles
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