As for the Russian school, what you've read differs from what I've read.
"But the official version is contradicted by many eyewitnesses and former hostages. According to the newspaper "Izvestiya," whose reporter interviewed one of the emergency staffers who drove up to the school in the minutes before the siege was broken, there were no initial explosions.
He said someone -- he does not know who -- opened fire from outside the school, at which point the militants fired back. Then came the explosions. Other witnesses suggest the initial gunfire might have come from among the crowd of parents and relatives waiting outside the school. Some say the explosions were actually Russian tank fire, which blew off part of the school's roof.
Moscow-based military analyst Pavel Felgenhauer also doubts the Kremlin's version of an unplanned, last-minute decision to storm the school, saying the appearance of attack helicopters points to a coordinated, pre-planned move.
"Although there is an air base near Beslan, I know how much time it takes to transmit instructions to pilots. Even if the helicopter was fueled, armed, and waiting, and the pilots were already suited up -- if it had been a spontaneous decision -- they would have had to wait for instructions. An order would have had to be given. They would have had to get aboard, to warm up the engine. They could not have made it to the school in less than half an hour or even more," Felgenhauer said." -- Source.