A suicide attack on a police station in western Algeria killed two policemen after one officer jumped on the attacker to protect his colleagues from the blast, state news agency APS and police said on Thursday.

Attacks and bombings have become rarer in Algeria since the end of the country's 1990s war against armed Islamists, but al Qaeda and small brigades of militants tied to Islamic State are still active and often target armed forces.

In the attack early on Thursday morning, an armed militant wearing a suicide belt tried to enter a police post in Tiaret, around 300 kilometers (190 miles) west of Algiers, reports Reuters.

"One of the officers in an act of bravery, threw himself on the attacker to protect the others in the entrance of the police station," APS said.

Another officer who was wounded in the blast later died, the national police said in a statement.

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