An Algerian military plane crashed and caught fire on Wednesday killing 257 people, mostly army personnel and members of their families, officials said.
Algeria President Abdelaziz Bouteflika declared three days of nationwide mourning and prayers for the lifeless on Friday.
Some of the victims of that crash were civilians as military dependents often used the planes to travel as well as troops. An investigation into the cause of the crash is underway.
Most of the passengers were soldiers and their families, the ministry said. Algerian TV station Ennahar showed images of smoke rising from the plane's fuselage, tilted to one side, with part of the aircraft sticking out above olive trees. It crashed into a field just outside the base and was devoured by flames, killing 247 passengers and 10 crew members, the Defense Ministry said.
Another local man told Ennahar he heard the loud explosion as the plane hit the ground.
The Soviet-designed Il-76 military transport plane crashed in an agricultural zone with no residents, Mr Achour said. It was scheduled to make a layover in Tindouf in southern Algeria, home to many refugees from the neighbouring Western Sahara, a disputed territory annexed by Morocco. In recent decades, Algeria has bought military planes from both the US and Russian Federation. According to the Aviation Safety Network, the 2003 crash of an IL-76 of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard killed 275 people.
Today, the army is credited with saving the nation from an insurgency by Islamist extremists in the 1990s and early 2000s.
The scene of the crash is 20 miles southwest of the capital, Algiers.
The New York Times reports the country's deadliest accident until April 11, was in July 2014, when an Air Algérie jetliner traveling from Burkina Faso to Algeria crashed in the desert in Mali, killing all 116 people on board, including 54 French citizens.
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