Beslan school hostage crisis. (Dmitry Beliakov/Rex Features - East News/ABACA)

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The tragic events in which Chechen nationalists held hostage over 1,000 men, women and children, killing 332 of them during a bloody three-day siege in September of 2004 has been called 'Russia's 9-11'.

Chechens took over School No. 1 in the town of Beslan, North Ossetia, on Sept. 1, 2004, the first day of the school year.

The siege lasted 53 hours, and ended in a chaotic gunfight between Russian military, local men, and the guerrillas who had infiltrated the school. As the dust settled, the hostages' chilling stories emerged, as well as details of the separatists' preparations, which included planting extra weapons in the school over the summer.

The siege was the last in a week-long assault, which included a suicide bomber killing nine outside a Moscow subway station and two airliners downed by suspected Chechen suicide bombers, in which all 89 people aboard died.

The attacks were in response to recent elections in Chechnya, in which a Kremlin-backed candidate won the presidency, according to CNN.

But Chechnya and Russia's history is long and bloody. Chechnya declared independence in 1991 after the collapse of the Soviet Union. In 1994 Boris Yeltsin ordered 40,000 troops to invade preventing its separation. Vladamir Putin has increasingly associated Chechen rebels with jihadists in the Middle East, including al-Qaida. And the rift grows.

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