News of the WeekToxicology

Questions Swirl Over Knockout Gas Used in Hostage Crisis

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Science  08 Nov 2002:
Vol. 298, Issue 5596, pp. 1150-1151
DOI: 10.1126/science.298.5596.1150

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CAMBRIDGE, U.K., AND WASHINGTON, D.C.-- Scientists are still speculating about the exact nature of the gas that subdued the Chechen terrorists but also killed 118 hostages in a Moscow theater on 26 October. Experts are doubtful about the official Russian explanation, which is that the gas was a derivative of fentanyl, an opiate. Hopes for a clearer picture are now riding on toxicological analyses on Western hostages.