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(ANS) – Distraught Christian parents were among those searching between piles of bodies Saturday, September 4, as Russian officials confirmed that up to 350 people, nearly half of them children, had died in a hostage drama at a school in Beslan, North Ossetia, which ended after long gun battles between Russian forces and militants demanding independence for neighboring Chechnya. The death toll, which was much higher than previously admitted by the Kremlin, also included 26 militants who were reportedly killed by Russian Special Forces, said Russian Deputy Prosecutor Sergei Fridinsky.