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Wednesday, July 27, 2011     INTELLIGENCE BRIEFING

Moroccan U.S. C-130 transport goes down
in bad weather; 81 dead

CAIRO — At least 80 people were killed when a U.S.-origin aircraft of the Moroccan Air Force crashed.


The Moroccan military said a U.S.-origin C-130 air transport crashed on July 26 during a flight near the southwestern town of Guelmim. A military statement said the C-130, a staple in many Middle East air forces, was on a flight from Layoune in Western Sahara to Guelmim, regarded as a key air force base and which contains a U.S. military presence. All those on board were said to have been killed.

"The crash was caused by bad weather," the statement said.

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The aircraft, which struck a mountain, was said to have transported nine crew members, 60 soldiers and 12 civilians. The three survivors were taken to the military hospital in Guelmim and were later said to have died. Geulmim was believed to have been used by Morocco and the United States to monitor insurgency movements in North Africa.

This marked the worst air crash in Morocco since 1994, when 44 people were killed in an airliner downing. The Air Force has conducted a modernization project and was awaiting the first of 24 F-16 Block 52+ multi-role fighters from the United States.

"Right now, we don't have enough information [on the crash]," an official said.

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