- Algerian military plane crashes near capital Algiers
- More than a hundred on board killed, reports state radio
- Local TV footage showed crash site, smoke billowing from wreckage
257 people died after an Algerian military plane crashed near an airbase outside the capital Algiers, according to officials. The plane came down near Boufarif airport shortly after taking off. The dead include the plane's 10 crew and 247 passengers, most of them members of the armed forces and their families, officials said.
Reuters reported that that plane was also carrying military personnel and members of Western Sahara's Polisario independence movement.
The aircraft was an Ilyushin II-76, and crashed 25 kilometres southwest of Algiers.
Television footage showed black smoke billowing near a motorway and a crowd of security officials and others standing in a field next to the crash site.
The tail fin of a plane could be seen above olive trees, with smoke and flames rising from the wreckage.
Hundreds of ambulances and dozens of fire trucks rushed to the scene.
Attempts to broker a settlement by the UN have failed for years in the vast desert area, which has contested since 1975 when Spanish colonial powers left. Morocco claimed the territory while Polisario established its self-declared Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic there, reports Reuters.
The C-130 Hercules transport aircraft came down in the mountainous Oum El Bouaghi region.
In July 2014 an Air Algerie passenger plane flying from Burkina Faso to Algiers crashed in northern Mali, killing all 116 people on board including 54 French nationals.
With inputs from Reuters and AFP