The scene of the crash at Boufarik military base. Photo: AFP
More than 250 people have been killed in a military plane crash in Algeria, state television has reported.
The plane crashed soon after takeoff in a field near the Boufarik military base in northern Algeria on Wednesday. The cause of the crash was unclear and an investigation has been launched, the defence ministry said.
Emergency services converged on the area near the base.
Mohammed Achour, chief spokesman for the civil protection agency, said the Russian-designed Il-76 military transport plane had been carrying soldiers.
The defence ministry has not provided a death toll but expressed condolences to the victims’ families.
The Algerian TV network Ennahar published images of body bags lined up in a field after the crash.
The flight had just taken off from Boufarik, about 20 miles (30 kilometres) south-west of Algiers, when it crashed. It was bound for a military base in Béchar in the south-west of the country, Achour said.
It was scheduled to make a stopover in Tindouf, in southern Algeria, home to many refugees from the neighbouring Western Sahara, a disputed territory annexed by Morocco.