The Beslan School Massacre crisis began when a group of armed terrorists, demanding an end to the Second Chechen War, took more than 1,100 people, including some 777 children, hostage on September 1, 2004, at School Number One (SNO) in the town of Beslan, North Ossetia-Alania, an autonomous republic in the North Caucasus region of the Russian Federation. On the third day of the standoff, Russian security forces stormed the building using tanks, thermobaric rockets and other heavy weapons. Over 380 people, mostly children, died. The hostage taking was carried out by the Riyadus-Salikhin Reconnaissance and Sabotage Battalion of Chechen Martyrs group lead by Shamil Basayev who was an independent warlord at the time. The tragedy led to security and political repercussions in Russia, most notably a series of government reforms consolidating power in the Kremlin and strengthening of the powers of President of Russia. As of 2008, there are many aspects of the crisis still in dispute, including how many militants were involved, their preparations, and whether some of them had escaped. Questions about the government’s management of the crisis have also persisted, including disinformation and censorship in news media, repressions of journalists who rushed to Beslan, the nature and content of negotiations with the militants, the responsibility for the bloody outcome, and the government’s use of possibly excessive force.