Two Egyptian police officers have been killed and several others wounded in a small explosion near the presidential palace in Cairo's Heliopolis district, the Interior Ministry has said.

Security forces were defusing one makeshift bomb found at a street intersection near the presidential palace on Monday when a second device exploded, the ministry said in a statement.

The blast came days after the armed group Ajnad Misr, or Soldiers of Egypt, said it had planted a series of bombs in the same area to target security forces. It aborted the mission due to concerns that civilians would be hurt, but was unable to remove the bombs and released a statement urging caution.

The group formally announced itself in January, saying it would target the government after the army ousted elected president Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood last year.

Eight people were hurt in a series of explosions last week on Cairo's metro, the first attacks in the capital since Abdel Fattah el-Sisi became president this month.

Armed groups have targeted police and soldiers with bomb attacks and shootings since Morsi's ousting. Thousands of Brotherhood supporters have been arrested, and hundreds more have been killed.

The Brotherhood denies any link to the violence.

Source: Reuters