257 killed in Algerian military plane crash near capital: Report

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An Algerian aircraft transporting dozens of troops and equipment went down near an airport at Boufarik less than 20 miles from the capital Algiers. The crash has reportedly left more than 257 people dead. An image posted on an Algerian website show a huge plume of black smoke billowing from an area near the runway.

257 killed in Algerian military plane crash near capital: Report

The cause of the crash was unclear, and an investigation has been opened, according to a Defense Ministry statement.

The Defense Ministry did not provide a death toll but expressed condolences to the victims' families. The flight had just taken off from Boufarik, about 30 kilometres southwest of the capital Algiers, for a military base in Bechar in southwest Algeria, Achour said.

It was scheduled to make a layover in Tindouf in southern Algeria, home to many refugees from the neighbouring Western Sahara, a disputed territory annexed by Morocco. The Soviet-designed Il-76 military transport plane crashed in an agricultural zone with no residents.

The Algerie Presse service agency said the Iliouchine-type plane was headed for Bechar in south-western Algeria.

As many as 14 ambulances and ten fire engines were deployed at the incident and dozens of bodies were pulled from the wreckage, according to local reports. However, there was no immediate word on casualties.

In 2014, a military plane crashed near eastern Algeria that left at least 77 others dead.The plane crashed in Mount Fertas, which is about 500 kilometers (310 miles) east of Algeris, according to APS.

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