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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Parliamentary Commission on Beslan Postpones Report

A parliamentary commission has again delayed an official report on the 2004 Beslan school siege that claimed the lives of 332 hostages.

The commission has been assessing how security officials performed during the bungled rescue operation when special forces stormed School No. 1 on Sept. 3, 2004. After several delays, the commission's final report was due Thursday.

Last month a private report by a member of the commission suggested that the storming had been triggered by two rounds from grenade launchers fired by security forces.

"The report will definitely not be published today," a spokeswoman for commission chairman Alexander Torshin said Thursday.

Terrorists seized more than 1,000 people attending a ceremony in Beslan to mark the new school year on Sept. 1, 2004. Two days later more than 300 people died in the chaotic storming of the school. More than half were children.

According to leaks from official investigators, security forces stormed the school after the terrorists blew up a bomb inside the school, and most victims were killed in that blast.

Yury Savelyev, a respected explosives expert and a member of Torshin's commission, challenged that theory in a private report published on the web site last month.

Savelyev said two grenade launcher rounds fired from a building controlled by security forces had triggered the storming and caused many of the deaths.

In an interview with Gazeta, Torshin said Savelyev's arguments were wrong, although he said that at least part of Savelyev's report was identical to his commission's findings.

The Prosecutor General's Office has launched an investigation into the arguments presented in Savelyev's report.

The Pravda Beslana web site on Thursday also published the draft report by Torshin's commission, saying it was supposed to be released later that day. The publication will allow people to see if Torshin's final report will incorporate some of Savelyev's findings, the web site said.

(Reuters, MT)