[JURIST] Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) [official website, in Russian] killed the self-confessed mastermind [press release] of the 2004 Beslan school siege [BBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive] along with 12 other militants in an early morning special operation Monday, according to Nikolai Patrushev [MosNews profile], head of the FSB. Russian President Vladimir Putin [official website, English version] expressed relief that security forces killed Shamil Basayev [BBC profile], who was also responsible for a 1995 hostage crisis in Budyonnovsk [Wikipedia backgrounder].
In May, a Russian court sentenced the only surviving Beslan hostage-taker, Nurpashi Kulayev [Wikipedia profile], to life in prison after convicting him on terrorism and murder charges [JURIST reports]. Kulayev's appeal, and an appeal by a group of Beslan survivors [JURIST reports] are both pending.
Some 1,300 people, most of them children, were taken hostage in a school building in Beslan, North Ossetia, in September 2004 by militants demanding that Russian soldiers leave Chechnya. Many hostages died when the school roof collapsed in flames during a rescue effort. All told, 330 people were killed and another 783 were wounded. The Guardian has more. MosNews has local coverage.