On June 19, the pravdabeslana.ru (Truth about Beslan) website published copies of faxes written in August 2004 by officials of the North Ossetian interior ministry. These show that the local authorities were aware of preparations for a major terrorist attack involving the movement of convoys of vehicles, and targeting a public building, most probably a school, on “Knowledge Day” (September 1, the day when the new school year begins in Russia). The documents even made reference to the specific demands that the hostage-takers would advance.
One example [my tr.]:
Information has been received concerning the movement of members of illegal armed formations from the plains of the Chechen Republic into an area of mountain and forest on the border between the Republic of Ingushetia and the Republic of North Ossetia. The gathering of fighters is projected for mid-August this year, after which there are plans to carry out a terrorist action on the “Budyonnovsk scenario” on the territory of the Republic of North Ossetia. According to the information received, the fighters are planning to seize a public building with hostages, and then advance demands to the country’s leadership concerning the withdrawal of units of the federal forces from the Chechen Republic. A large sum of money in Western currency is said to have come from Turkey to finance the action.