Hollywood star Steven Seagal vows to fight terrorism

Moscow, June 2 (IANS/RIA Novosti) Hollywood action movie star Steven Seagal has pledged to dedicate his life to fight terrorism.

Seagal visited a ruined school in Beslan in Russia's North Ossetia, the scene of a bloody hostage crisis in 2004.

The movie star and martial artist along with a group of US Congressmen arrived in Beslan June 1, the International Children's Day celebrated in Russia.

The delegation visited the memorial cemetery in the town, where over 330 terror attack victims, more than half of them children, are buried.

"They were shocked. After visiting the cemetery, which has more than 300 similar tombs, most of them with the photos of small children, Steven Seagal said he will spend the rest of his life fighting against terrorism," said a spokesman for the republic's head.

On Sep 1, 2004, in one of the most shocking events in recent world history, a group of rebels seized School No. 1 in Beslan, 30 km northwest of Vladikavkaz, capital of the North Caucasus republic of North Ossetia.

Sep 1 is known in Russia as the 'Day of Knowledge' and is when schoolchildren all over the country return to or begin their studies.

The militants killed 17 adults in the first hours of the siege, and then set up explosive devices around the school. They then demanded that Russian troops pull out of the Chechen republic. The operation was organised by the late Chechen warlord Shamil Basayev.

The siege ended after three days when federal troops stormed the school. Hundreds of people died as militants and troops exchanged fire. The authorities were widely criticized for their handling of the siege and for the events leading up to it. All of the terrorists but one were killed.

--IANS/RIA Novosti

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