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4 injured in military helicopter crash in southern Algeria

ALGIERS, March 9 (Xinhua) -- An Algerian Air Force military helicopter crashed Sunday near Zarzaitine Airport in the gas rich locality of In Amenas, injuring four soldiers, a security source told Xinhua.

The source said two soldiers were seriously injured, and they were rushed to hospital for medical treatment.

He also said that the Russian made Mi-24 helicopter attempted to make an emergency landing just after takeoff, when a fire erupted on board due to a technical malfunction.

The source denied that the plane was attacked by militants.

It is the second military plane crash in less than a month. In early February, a C-130 Hercules military aircraft crashed in the east of the country, killing 77 people and seriously injuring one another.

The In Amenas area, a strategic area rich in natural resources, was the scene in January 2013 of a mass hostage crisis in Tiguentourine gas field when al-Qaida-linked groups kidnapped some 800 workers. The military has since clamped down on militants in the area.

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