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Moscow Hospitals Release More Survivors of Hostage Siege - 2002-10-29

Many more survivors of the Moscow theater crisis have been released from area hospitals, as new information about the incident becomes known.

More than 300 survivors of the Moscow hostage drama are reported to have been released from area hospitals.

According to health officials, another 300 remain under medical care.

Most of the former hostages in the hospital are being treated for effects of an unknown gas pumped into the theater in order to disable the Chechen militants.

More than 100 people died from the effects of the gas, which Russia refuses to identify.

Meanwhile, new details continue to emerge about what happened at the theatre. Russia's Interfax news agency says Moscow's Prosecutor General reports that 45 people were shot and killed when the building was stormed last weekend.

Among those 45, the prosecutor says 41 were hostage-takers. He says two others were hostages killed by the armed group of Chechen men and women, before Russian special forces stormed the building.

The hostage-takers are also said to have shot and killed a woman from Moscow, who tried to enter the building during the siege.

The Russian government has said it will help pay burial expenses for the victims. Officials also continue to search for any accomplices to the hostage-takers.

In a related development, Russia's Interfax news agency also is reporting that the head of the Russian Orthodox Church has had to cancel plans to take part in special services for victims of the Moscow hostage crisis.

According to Interfax, Patriarch Alexy the Second suffered an incident of high blood pressure on a brief trip out of the city and had to be hospitalized overnight. He has since returned to Moscow, but doctors have said little about his condition.