The Islamic State claimed responsibility for an attack that left eight policemen dead in Helwan early Sunday morning, reported the privately owned Al-Masry Al-Youm. The statement claimed that the attack was carried out to avenge women imprisoned by the state.
The Interior Ministry announced in a statement through their official Facebook page that eight policemen were killed by an unidentified gunmen early Sunday morning in the Cairo suburb of Helwan.
The statement alleged that four gunmen with automatic weapons got out of a car and opened fire on a police vehicle transporting plainclothes policemen, killing seven low-ranking policemen and one officer. Security forces are currently combing the area in an attempt to capture the culprits, who fled the scene after the attack, it added. State-owned Al-Ahram reported that there were no surveillance cameras on the street where the attack occurred, making identifying the perpetrators more difficult.
However, other groups have also claimed responsibility for the attack, including a group called the Popular Resistance, according to Al-Masry Al-Youm. The group stated that it carried out the attack to mark 1,000 days of the violent dispersal of Rabea al-Adaweya, where security forces killed hundreds of pro-Muslim Brotherhood protesters.
The British ambassador tweeted in solidarity with Egypt after the news, stating, “Deep condolences to families and colleagues of the police officers murdered in #Helwan. Standing together we will defeat this terrorism.”
The Journalists Syndicate also stated that they fully condemned the “terrorist attack” on police forces this morning, reported the state-owned Al-Ahram. It extended its condolences to the families of the victims and praised “the brave policemen who shed their blood to protect the nation.”
This is not the first time that the Islamic State has assumed responsibility for violent attacks in Cairo. In August 2015, the militant group claimed responsibility for the bombing of a National Security Agency building in Shubra al-Kheima, as well as for the bombing of the Italian consulate in July 2015, which killed one person and left ten injured.
The Province of Sinai, an Islamic State affiliate previously known as Ansar Beit al-Maqdes, has also claimed responsibility for several high profile attacks, most recently an attack on an apartment in Giza that left six dead and injured dozens of other in August 2016.