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Munitions-laden plane crashes in Mogadishu

Somali officials say an Ethiopian cargo plane full of weapons has burst into flames as it crash landed at Mogadishu's airport, killing one crew member. Ethiopia has supported Somalia's fight against Islamist insurgents.

An Ethiopian military plane carrying munitions crash landed and caught fire at Mogadishu's airport on Friday, according to Somali airport and security officials. They said at least one of its six crew members were killed.

Ethiopia's foreign ministry did not initially confirm the incident which produced a tower of black smoke and detonations at the airport, which also serves as the headquarters of an African Union (AU) peacekeeping force.

The Somali officials said the plane got into trouble in the air and then missed the runway, crashing into the ground nearby.

"We can hear explosions as it burns. It is burning like hell," said one of several security sources at the airport who initially said four people had been killed.

Authorities have closed the airport. It has received a growing number of passenger flights over the past two years after African troops and Somali government forces flushed Islamist Shabab rebels from their bases in the capital.

Ethiopian troops are also supporting Somalia's fight against the al Qaeda-linked militants, although they are not part of an AU force.

Two international carriers – Turkish Airlines and Air Uganda – operate direct flights into Mogadishu.

ipj/hc (AP, Reuters, AFP)

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