At least 18 people have been killed and dozens wounded in a suicide attack at a military academy west of the Algerian capital, according to security officials.

The bombers set off explosions a few seconds apart in front of the Cherchell military academy, 100km west of Algiers late on Friday.

The attack began when a bomb exploded just outside the entrance of the academy. Soldiers dining at a restaurant - which was within the base but near its perimeter - raced from their tables to see what had happened, according to security officials.

As a crowd gathered, a suicide bomber with explosives strapped to his body drove his motorcycle at them, the officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity, citing policy. No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack

"Of the 18 dead, there are 16 servicemen and two civilians," a hospital source said.

The wounded were evacuated to hospitals in the nearby towns of Sidi Ghiles and Tipaza, as well as to the army's central Ain-Naadja hospital in Algiers, the source said.

Algeria, which has fought extremists for years, has seen a marked increase in such attacks in recent months.

Source: Al Jazeera