BREAKING NEWS:Ethiopian Plane Crashes at Mogadishu Airport

resizeA plane crashed and caught fire at the international airport in Mogadishu, the capital of Somali, on Friday.

The plane crashed as it was landing near the beginning of the runway, said Capt. Ali Hussein, a police officer at the airport.

The African Union Mission to Somalia, a peacekeeping mission, confirmed that the crash involved an Ethiopian Air Force aircraft, “which unfortunately burst into flames immediately on crashing,” the mission tweeted.

“The Force Commander expresses his heartfelt condolences to the government and people of Ethiopia following the loss of crew members,” the mission said. “He wishes those who were injured and are now undergoing medical attention quick recovery.”

The crash happened shortly before 8 a.m. local time.

The fire was so intense at one point that firefighting crews were unable to tackle it, a security source told Reuters.

“One airplane fell nearby the African Union Compound while it was landing,” tweeted one eyewitness, Mücahit Salih Duran, head of the Turkish Red Crescent delegation in Somalia, just after the plane crashed. ”Still burning.”

At least four people are reported dead from the crash.

Witnesses told an Al-Jazeera reporter that some of the crew were rescued. There were six crew members on board.

The airport has been closed for now. At least one plane has been delayed: a Turkish Airlines flight scheduled to depart at 9:25 a.m. to Djibouti has been pushed back 4 hours. Other flights appear on time, for now.

The weapons carried on the plane most likely would have been destined for African Union or Somali troops, who continue to battle al-Qaida-linked militants from al-Shabab. The militants have shot at planes in the past but not in recent years.

Air traffic has increased significantly at the airport as Mogadishu continues on a slow recovery from decades of warfare. Two major international carriers — Turkish Airlines and Air Uganda — operate direct flights into Mogadishu.

The Mogadishu International Airport is also known as the Aden Adde International Airport.

Story developing; will be updated

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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