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Deadly attack strikes Algeria military academy

By the CNN Wire Staff
  • NEW: At least 18 officers and two civilians were killed in the attack, defense officials say
  • Many others were injured in the attack in the town of Cherchell
  • Algerian newspaper El Watan reports that it was carried out by two suicide bombers

(CNN) -- In a growing toll, 18 officers and two civilians were killed in an attack on a military academy in Algeria, the country's ministry of defense said Saturday.

The attack occurred at the Military Academy of Cherchell on Friday as officers were breaking their daily Ramadan fast, the Ministry of National Defense said in a statement, according to the Algerian state news agency, Algerie Presse Service.

Six people injured in the attack remain in the hospital, including one in "critical condition," the statement said. Twenty others were discharged after receiving treatment.

Algerian newspaper El Watan reported that two suicide bombers had carried out the attack in Cherchell, a coastal town west of the capital, Algiers.

The first bomber detonated his device by the building's security wall and, as soldiers and civilians rushed to help the victims, a second bomber rode his motorcycle into the crowd and detonated his device, El Watan said.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility, the newspaper reported.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague condemned what he called a "brutal and callous attack."

"The timing, at exactly the point when the officers were about to sit down to iftar, demonstrates that these terrorists have absolutely no regard for human life nor respect for Ramadan," he said. Iftar is the meal that breaks the fast after sundown each day during Islam's holy month.

CNN's Pierre Meilhan and Michael Martinez contributed to this report.