11 April 2018

Algeria - Military Plane Crashes Leaving Hundreds Dead

Photo: EnnaharTV
An Algerian military plane is seen after crashing near an airport outside the capital Algiers, Algeria April 11, 2018 in this still image taken from a video.

An Algerian military plane has crashed near the capital Algiers. The number of people killed has risen to 257, according to local officials.

An Algerian military plane carrying crashed on Wednesday shortly after take off, according to local media.

The Iliushin-type military aircraft crashed near an air base in Boufarik, located about 30 kilometers (20 miles) southwest of the capital Algiers, the state-run Algerie Presse Service reported.

Algerian emergency services said 257 people onboard were killed.

The Defense Ministry issued a statement saying the cause of the crash was unclear and that an investigation had been opened. It did not give a casualty toll.

The plane was reportedly heading to Bechar, in the southwest of the country near the border with Morocco.

Ennahar newspaper reported that 26 of those killed were members of the Polisario Front, an armed political movement seeking independence for the Moroccan-controlled Western Sahara.

Algeria is the chief backer of the Polisario Front, which Morocco accuses of setting up military posts in a UN-monitored buffer zone in the Western Sahara near the border with Algeria.

Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita last week said Rabat would take whatever action necessary to defend Western Sahara and blamed Algeria for the multi-year conflict.

(AP, Reuters, AFP)

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