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By Friday 3 September 2004 the siege at Beslan's No 1 school was into its third day.

Chechen separatists had stormed the school on the Wednesday morning and were holding more than 1,000 children and adults hostage. They released 26 hostages on the Thursday but refused to allow food or water supplies into the school, which was surrounded by special forces.

Contact with the hostage-takers was resumed on the Friday morning. At about 0850 GMT they agreed to let emergency workers in to retrieve bodies of hostages who had been killed when the school was seized.



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