The Daily Gazette
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Official: Algeria military plane crash kills 103

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ALGIERS, Algeria — An Algerian military transport plane crashed Tuesday in the country's mountainous east. An Algerian official said 103 people were killed, including women and children.

The state news agency said the plane was flying from the far southern city of Tamanrasset to the eastern city of Constantine, and it crashed near the town of Ain Kercha in the province of Oum El Bouaghi.

Civil defense officials on the scene told journalists that women and children were among the dead at the snowy crash site about 50 kilometers (30 miles) south of Constantine, Algeria's main eastern city.

The C-130, built by Lockheed, could be seen broken into three parts.

An intelligence officer told The Associated Press that the crash killed all 103 people on board, including the plane's four crew members. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.

Algerian news media gave conflicting death tolls, however, and state radio reported that 99 people were killed. It was not possible to immediately reconcile the different reports.

Col. Lahmadi Bouguern, spokesman for the eastern military region, told the state news agency the crash was caused by a lack of visibility and the strong winds that have buffeted the region the past few days. Winds were 17-28 knots at the time, according to the website.

The worst plane crash in Algerian history occurred in 2003, when 102 people were killed after a civilian airliner crashed at the end of the runway in Tamanrasset.

In November 2012, an Algerian military cargo plane crashed in southern France, killing all six people aboard.

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