Egyptian Interior Ministry says gunmen opened fire and killed eight police officers in the outskirts of Cairo in an attack claimed by the DAESH terrorist group.

Eight Egyptian policemen shot dead by unidentified gunmen in the outskirts of Cairo.
Eight Egyptian policemen shot dead by unidentified gunmen in the outskirts of Cairo.

Gunmen killed eight policemen dressed in civilian clothes, including an officer, in an attack later claimed by the DAESH terrorist organisation on a police vehicle in Helwan, just south of Cairo, the Egyptian Interior Ministry said on Sunday.

The police officers were travelling in a minivan when the four assailants in a pickup truck blocked their path and sprayed the vehicle with automatic rifle fire, the ministry said.

The assailants wore masks, residents in Helwan, an industrial town south of the capital, said.

DAESH said in an Arabic-language statement that the attack was part of one of its campaigns, which has seen the group carry out a series of bombings and other attacks in Iraq.

It was not clear how or why Egypt was linked to the Iraqi campaign.

The statement also stated that the attack was aimed at avenging women in Egyptian jails but gave no further information.

Egypt has been battling with armed groups, mainly based in North Sinai, in fighting which has killed hundreds of police officers and soldiers since the country's first democratically elected president Mohamed Morsi was deposed in a military coup in July 2013.

While the deadliest attacks take place in Sinai, militants have targeted security forces and planted bombs in Cairo and other cities.

In 2014, an Egyptian militant group called Ansar Bayt al Maqdis pledged alliance to DAESH and changed its name to Sinai Province.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies