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Russian Official: 67 Hostages Died

October 26, 2002

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MOSCOW (AP) _ Sixty-seven of the hostages held in a Moscow theater by Chechen rebels for several days died during the ordeal, the deputy interior minister said Saturday.

More than 750 hostages were saved, Deputy Interior Minister Vladimir Vasilyev said Saturday, several hours after Russian special forces stormed the theater.

He said 34 of the approximately 50 hostage-takers were killed and he confirmed that a special gas was used to knock out everyone in the theater and allow the rescue operation to proceed.

No children were among the dead, Vasilyev said.

News reports said President Valdimir Putin went to one of the Moscow hospitals where hundreds of freed hostages were taken by bus and ambulance.

Update hourly