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Chronology of events of hostage taking in Moscow, October 2326, 2002
Written by   
, 28 2002

From Rossiyskaya Gazeta, October 28th, 2002

Fifty-eight hours

    That is how long the nightmare on Melnikov Street in Moscow kept the entire nation on edge

Wednesday, October 23rd

9:15 p.m. A group of armed militants in camouflage enter the theatrical center at Dubrovka, on Number 7Melnikov Street, what was formerly known as the Palace of Culture (DK) of the government bearings plant. The theater is variously referred to as Nord-Ost (from the musical being performed in the theater at the time), Dubrovka, or simply DK. More than 800people are watching the musical at thetime.

The terrorists declare that everyone was now their hostage and begin to wire the building with explosives. During the first minutes a few actors and workers at the theater manage to escape the building through windows and emergencyexits.

10 p.m. It becomes known that the building was seized by a group of Chechen gunmen under the command of Movsar Barayev. According to eyewitnesses, there are 3040 terrorists, including women, and they are all wearing explosives. According to preliminary reports, they demand the cessation of the war in Chechnya. Units from the FSB, interior ministry, and police forces arrive at the DK building.

Thursday, October 24th

12:15 a.m. The first attempt is made to contact with the terrorists. The Chechen representative to the Russian parliament, Aslambek Aslakhanov arrives at the building.

2:20 a.m. The terrorists release 17people without any preconditions.

Between 3a.m. and 9a.m. Russian special forces try to contact the militants, but without success. At this time FSB officers find out that the seizure of hostages was under orders from Aslan Maskhadov and international terrorists organizations.

9:30 a.m. Foreign diplomats arrive at the DK. It is known that there are 6070 foreign citizens among the hostages. Negotiations with the terrorists breakdown.

Between 11:30 a.m. and 12:20 p.m. The gunmen demand (the leaders of the opposition parties) Boris Nemtsov, Irina Hakamada, and Grigoriy Yavlinskiy come to conduct negotiations, as well as the journalist Anna Politkovskaya.

1 p.m. Member of the Russian parliament Josef Kobzon and physicians from the Red Cross arrive at the theatrical center. A half-hour later they bring a woman and three children out from the building.

3 p.m. Josef Kobzon and Irina Hakamada once again conduct negotiations.

5 p.m. The terrorists kill a woman who had tried to enter the building.

6:30 p.m. The terrorists shoot and throw grenades at two women who run out of the DK building. The hostages escape uninjured, but one special forces soldier is wounded.

7 p.m. Qatari television channel Al-Jazeera broadcasts gunman Movsar Barayevs appeal, made several days before the seizure of the DK. The terrorists declare themselves to be kamikazes and demand the retreat of Russian forces from Chechnya.

Between 7p.m. and midnight. Unsuccessful attempts to convince the militants to accept food and water for the hostages.

Friday, October 25th

1 a.m. The terrorists allow Leonid Roshal, the director of the Center for Emergency Surgery and Trauma, into the building. He brings medicine and provides first aid for some of the hostages.

Between 5:30 a.m. and 6:30 a.m. The gunmen release 7people.

Between 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. The gunmen release 8children, including a girl from Switzerland. Negotiations soon afterwardscease.

3 p.m. Russian president Vladimir Putin has a meeting with the heads of the interior ministry and the FSB. After this meeting FSB director Nikolai Patrushev states that the authorities are ready to guarantee the lives of the terrorists if they release all the hostages.

Between 8p.m. and 9p.m. Evgeny Primakov, head of the Russian chamber of commerce, former Ingushetian president Ruslan Aushev, Russian MP Aslambek Aslakhanov, and pop singer Alla Pugacheva attempt to contact the militants.

9:50 p.m. The terrorists free three women and aman.

Saturday, October 26th

5:30 a.m. The sound of three explosions and gunfire come from the DK building. Afterwards, the shooting stops. The special forces begin to redeploy their forces around the theatrical center. Journalists crowd into the areas with the best visibility, but officially there is no acknowledgement that an assault hasbegun.

5.45 a.m. Representatives from the operational headquarters report that the terrorists had killed two hostages and wounded another two in the course of the last twohours.

6:20 a.m. Several new, powerful explosions are heard. Two hostages run out from the DK building. Headquarters representatives report that another six had also managed to escape.

6:30 a.m. The official FSB representative, Sergey Ignatchenko, reports that the theatrical center is now under the control of the special forces, and that Movsar Barayev and a majority of the terrorists have been destroyed. There is no report of casualties among the hostages.

Between 6:30 a.m. and 6:45 a.m. MChS (emergencies ministry) vehicles, buses, and ambulances arrive on orders at the DK building.

Between 6:45 a.m. and 7a.m. Rescuers and physicians begin to bring hostages out from the building and distribute them among hospitals.

7:25 a.m. Presidential aid Sergey Yastrzhembsky declares officially that the hostage rescue operation at the DK building was over, that most of the explosives in the building have been rendered safe. He reports that the special forces were looking for terrorists who managed tohide.

8:00 a.m. Deputy head of the interior ministry, Vladimir Vasilev, reports the preliminary reports of the operation: 36terrorists killed, including the female suicide bombers, more than 750hostages freed, and 67deaths.

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