Four accomplices arrested in September school hostage seizure in Russia

Four suspected accomplices of the militants who seized more than 1,200 hostages in a school in southern Russia in September have been arrested, a top-ranking prosecutor said Thursday.

Nikolai Shepel, deputy Russian prosecutor general for southern Russia, said the four were suspected of aiding the militants who crowded their hostages into the gymnasium of a school in Beslan. Some 330 victims died in the attack, which ended in a hail of explosions and gunfire. Of 32 assailants who took part in the raid, 31 were killed, officials say.

The trial of Nur-Pashi Kulayev, the sole hostage-taker believed to have survived, will start on May 17 at the Supreme Court of North Ossetia, the Russian province where the raid took place. Shamil Basayev, the Chechen warlord who claimed responsibility for the attack, remains at large.

Shepel has said previously that six Beslan accomplices were killed, including Chechen rebel leader Aslan Maskhadov, who was killed in a special operation on March 8. Maskhadov had denied involvement in the Beslan raid.

Associated Press

On the photo: Nur-Pashi Kulayev, a hostage-taker of Beslan

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