Incident Summary:

10/23/2002: Forty Chechen rebels attacked Dubrovka Theater in Moscow, Russia and took 912 hostages.  The assailants demanded a complete pullout of all Russian military forces from Chechnya in exchange for the release of the hostages.  The siege lasted until 26 October 2002, when Russian special forces filled the building with an unidentified gas intended to subdue the perpetrators. The gas killed all 40 perpetrators and 125 hostages. Five additional hostages were killed by the attackers during a shoot-out.




Eastern Europe

region/u.s. state:

Moscow Federal City


Attack Information
Type of Attack (more) Hostage Taking (Barricade Incident)
Successful Attack? (more) Yes
Target Information (more)
Target Type: Business
Name of Entity Dubrovka Theater
Specific Description Audience of Nord-Ost performance
Nationality of Target Russia
Additional Information
Hostages Yes
Number of Hostages 912
US Hostages Unknown
Days of Kidnapping 3
Outcome Combination
Ransom No
Property Damage Yes
Extent of Property Damage Unknown
Value of Property Damage Unknown
Weapon Information
Type Sub-type
Firearms Automatic Weapon
Explosives Grenade
Explosives Other Explosive Type
Weapon Details
Perpetrators carried improvised explosive devices, grenades, and mines, all of which were "Dummy", or empy explosives.
Additional Information
Suicide Attack?No
Part of Multiple Incident?No
Criterion 1 (more) Yes
Criterion 2 (more) Yes
Criterion 3 (more) Yes
Doubt Terrorism Proper (more) No
Additional Information The majority of the causualties in the attack were caused by the Russian rescue attempt, which involved pumping a sedative gas into the theater and then engaging in a gun battle with the terrorists.
Perpetrator Group Information
Group Name Group Sub-name Claimed Responsibility
Islamic International Peacekeeping Brigade (IIPB) No
Riyadus-Salikhin Reconnaissance and Sabotage Battalion of Chechen Martyrs No
Special Purpose Islamic Regiment (SPIR) The 29th Division Yes (Confirmed: Unknown; Mode: Unknown)
Perpetrator Statistics
Number of Perpetrators 41
Number of Captured Perpetrators 0
Casualty Information
Total Number of Casualties 170 Fatalities
Total Number of Fatalities 170
Number of U.S. Fatalities 1
Number of Perpetrator Fatalities 40
Total Number of Injured Unknown
Number of U.S. Injured 0
Number of Perpetrators Injured 0
Agence France Presse, "Deadly gas use haunts Moscow theater hostages 10 years later," October 22, 2012.
“How Special Forces Ended Siege”, BBC News, 29 October 2002
Joanna McGeary and Paul Quinn-Judge, “Special Report: Theater of War”, Time Magazine, 28 October 2002