Three Egyptian police officers have been killed in a drive-by-shooting in Cairo by men armed with machine guns, according to the country's interior ministry.

Two cars approached a police patrol in the busy neighbourhood of Nasr City late on Monday before opening fire at the officers. Five others were wounded in the incident.

The interior ministry did not specify how many assailants were involved and no group has claimed responsibility for the attack.

Egypt is currently battling several armed groups mainly concentrated in the Sinai Peninsula following the 2013 military coup that toppled Mohamed Morsi, the country's first democratically elected president.

Field Marshal turned President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has since overseen a crackdown on opposition in which hundreds of Muslim Brotherhood supporters have been killed and thousands, including Morsi, jailed or sentenced to death.

The Hasam Movement, which the government alleges is an offshoot of the Brotherhood, has claimed several attacks in or near Cairo, including the assassination of a police officer and the attempted killing of a senior prosecutor.

Ansar Beit al-Maqdis, the country's most active armed group, has pledged its allegiance to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) group, and has killed hundreds of soldiers and police officers.

The attacks have dented the recovery of tourism after a 2011 uprising drove away tourists, a major source of the country's revenue.

Is Egypt facing a crisis? - Inside Story

Source: News agencies