Military Plane Crashes South of Algiers Killing 257 people including 26 Polisario members

An Algerian military aircraft crashed Wednesday killing 257 soldiers, including 26 Polisario members, Algerian officials said.

The Russian Ilyushin model military plane was bound for Tindouf, the rear-base offered by the Algerian regime to the Polisario separatists, and planned a stop over in Bechar, Algerian media outlets said.

The incident happened shortly after the aircraft took off from Boufarik military airport near the capital Algiers in the morning.

The cause of the crash remained unclear and an investigation has been opened, Algeria’s defense ministry said.

The Ilyushin model has been in production since 1970s and has an overall good safety record. It is widely used for both commercial freight and military transport.

This is the deadliest plane crash since July 2014, when all 298 people on board Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 died when it was shot down over eastern Ukraine.

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