Terrorists Burst

Into School in Russia

* What started out as a normal day for some children in Russia turned into a nightmare yesterday when terrorists with guns burst into their school. As many as 400 people -- teachers, kids and parents -- were taken hostage.

A few people were killed in the initial assault, authorities said, but about 50 children managed to escape after hiding from the attackers. Later, some of the hostages were released. The attack occurred on the first day of the new school year.

The Russian government suspects that the terrorists are from Chechnya, a part of Russia that wants to break away and form its own country. The school is close to Chechnya. The hostage-takers have demanded that the Russian military leave Chechnya.

When the Soviet Union broke into independent countries in 1991, Chechnya, a province in southern Russia, also declared its independence. But Russia refused to accept that, and 10 years ago it sent troops into the region.

Over the years, Chechen terrorists have set off bombs and taken hostages to try to force the Russian military out. Chechens are believed to have been behind the explosion of two Russian planes last month.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said his country would not give in to the terrorists.