Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 3 Issue: 32

But was that the way it actually occurred? Writing in the October 26 issue of the website APN.ru, journalist Lev Segal observed: “Judging from everything, the ‘martyrs’ belts’ filled with plastic explosives, were mainly worn by the women-terrorists, who were sitting in the hall. A majority of them were sitting in the back part of the pit [of the theater] under the balcony. Evidently, the terrorists calculated that an explosion in that part of the hall would lead to a collapse of the balcony and thus to a maximum number of victims. The FSB evidently received information about this fact from hostages who had been freed.”

“When the special detachment of the FSB appeared at the entrance of the theater,” Segal continued, “and broke through the glass doors, several claps were heard–all viewers watching on television heard them. Probably, by utilizing grenade-launchers, shells containing poisoned substances were fired into the room; they fired in the direction of where the women suicide-fighters were sitting. But along with them were also doomed those hostages who, as a result of tragic circumstances, happened to be in their direct vicinity. One may conjecture that military poisonous substances of a nerve-paralysis action [sarin, zoman and so forth] were used, flying substances without color or smell.” “Only instant death,” Segal noted, “could prevent the terrorists from pressing the buttons on their bombs.”