An Algerian military plane crashed close to the capital killing all 257 people onboard. The aircraft came down right after taking off out of Boufarik military airport, located west of Algiers.
An inquiry is underway into the cause of the plane crash which is country's worst-ever air disaster. The Algerian government declared 3 days of national mourning.
Most of the killed are army personnel together with their families. 10 crew members are also dead. Passengers from Western Sahara, which is a disputed territory annexed by Morocco, were among the fatalities.
Polisario Front, seeking independence for the territory backed by Algeria, said that 30 Western Saharans, of which children and women, died. According to a senior member of country's ruling FLN party, those killed included a total of 26 Polisario members.
The aircraft, Ilyushin Il-76, was flying to Bechar and Tindouf situated in the south-west of the country. Tindouf region, that borders Western Sahara, is currently home to refugee camps and serves as the base for Polisario Front.
The authorities are now working to identify remains of the killed.