by Michael Thomas Barry
On October 23, 2002, Chechen rebels storm a Moscow theater, taking up to 700 people hostage during a sold-out performance of a popular musical. The second act of the musical was just beginning at the Moscow Ball-Bearing Plant's Palace of Culture when an armed man walked onstage and fired a machine gun into the air. The terrorists, including a number of women with explosives strapped to their bodies, identified themselves as members of the Chechen Army. They demanded that Russian military forces begin an immediate and complete withdrawal from Chechnya.