Egypt: Eight police killed in Ambush

Exclusive to The Middle East Online

Edited by Nelly Tawil

Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the deaths of eight Egyptian police officers in the Helwan district south of Cairo on Sunday.

The assailants were in a pickup truck, which blocked the path of the policemen who were travelling in a minivan when the incident occurred. The assailants then sprayed the vehicle with automatic rifle fire, the ministry said.

A lieutenant and seven lower ranking policemen who were patrolling the area just south of the capital perished in the attack when they were ambushed late at night according to the interior ministry.

The hallmarks of the attack are consistent with previous statements made from the Islamic State, however their claim of responsibility could not be independently verified. The group also claims to have drowned a Russian passenger jet that crashed into the Sinai Desert in October, killing 224 people.

The jihadists, who are based in the sparsely populated Sinai Peninsula bordering Israel and the Palestinian Gaza Strip, have repeatedly tried to make inroads in the capital, where police have had more success in quelling them than in Sinai.

Hit and run attacks on policemen and small-scale bombings, staged by militants, are becoming a frequent occurrence in Cairo.

The attackers claim the assaults are in defiance of a bloody police crackdown on Islamist supporters of Morsi, which has killed hundreds of protestors and imprisoned thousands. They have also targeted foreigners.