Two hundred Spetsgruppa Alpha commandos stormed the Moscow theater where Chechens held over 800 hostages. Disabling gas had first been pumped into the theater via the ventilation system. Some of the rebels were in areas of the theater where the disabling gas had not penetrated and resisted the troops with gunfire and grenades. But the Chechens were quickly killed. Spetsgruppa Alpha suffered only two casualties, both from the disabling gas.
Some of the Chechens were taken alive. The Chechens had planted explosives and many of the women terrorists were wearing explosive vests.
The gas had apparently not been used in such a large building before, and many of the hostages got an overdose of it and died. The gas slowed down breathing, and in some people induced vomiting. This caused unconscious people to choke to death. Over a hundred hostages and terrorists died this way.