At least 257 people were killed when an Algerian military plane crashed soon after takeoff in the north of the country, officials said Wednesday .
The aircraft went down in a field near the Boufarik military base, which is is 20 miles from the capital, Algiers, and close to the Mediterranean Sea.
Mohammed Achour, chief spokesman for the civil protection agency, said the plane was carrying military personnel.
The Soviet-designed Ilyushin Il-76 aircraft had been headed for Bechar in southwestern Algeria, the official Algerie Presse news agency reported.
The cause of the crash wasn’t immediately clear. An investigation has been opened, the Algerian defense ministry said in a statement.
Contributing: The Associated Press
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