The Moscow theatre hostage crisis, also known as the 2002 Nord-Ost siege, was the seizure of a crowded Moscow theatre on 23 October 2002 by some 40 to 50 armed Chechens who claimed allegiance to the Islamist militant separatist movement in Chechnya. They took 850 hostages and demanded the withdrawal of Russian forces from Chechnya and an end to the Second Chechen War. The siege was officially led by Movsar Barayev. After a two-and-a-half day siege, Russian Spetsnaz forces pumped an unknown chemical agent (thought to be fentanyl, 3-methylfentanyl), into the building's ventilation system and raided it.
Murder Sites, Theatres - Concert
Officially, 39 of the attackers were killed by Russian forces, along with at least 129 and possibly many more of the hostages (including nine foreigners). All but a few of the hostages who died during the siege were killed by the toxic substance pumped into the theatre to subdue the militants. The use of the gas was "widely condemned as heavy handed". Physicians in Moscow "condemned the secrecy surrounding the identity of the gas" that prevented them from saving more lives. Roughly, 170 people died in all.