Cairo: In a pre-dawn revenge attack, Islamic State gunmen on Sunday ambushed an Egyptian police van and shot dead at least nine policemen in southern Helwan district, the latest in a series of attacks on security personnel since the ouster of the Islamist President Mohammed Morsi in July 2013.
The gunmen travelling in a truck stopped a microbus carrying the plainclothes policemen, including a lieutenant, and sprayed it with bullets before fleeing from the scene, a security official said.
Four armed terrorists got out of the truck and opened fire on the police microbus, according to a statement by the Ministry of Interior.
Security forces have rushed to the place of the incident and are currently searching for the attackers, it said.
The Islamic State group's Egyptian branch claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement circulated on social media.
The group said "a squad of the soldiers of the caliphate" opened fire on the microbus in Helwan, killing the policemen before making off with their weapons.
The attack was retaliation for "the pure women imprisoned" in Egyptian jails, the group said in its statement.
Earlier, an Islamist group Shabab el-Mokawma el-Shabia (public resistance) had claimed responsibility for the attack.
In a statement published on its Facebook page, the group said the attack was carried out in memory of Rabaa victims (who were killed during the dispersal of the Muslim Brotherhood's Rabaa sit-in in August 2013 by police).
The attack came to commemorate 1000 days of the attack, it said.
The group also posted pictures online, showing several bodies of the policemen riddled with bullets.
Egypt has witnessed several violent attacks by militants since the January 2011 revolution that toppled former president Hosni Mubarak.
Terrorists, including from dreaded Islamist State outfit, have killed hundreds of policemen and soldiers in attacks conducted mostly in the Sinai Peninsula and in and around Cairo.
The attacks targeting police and military increased after the ouster of Islamist ex-president Morsi in 2013 by the military following massive protests against his rule.
Over 700 security personnel have reportedly been killed so far.