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Egyptian court lists Hamas as terror group

Egyptian court lists Hamas as terror group

Cairo: An Egyptian court on Saturday designated the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas as a terrorist organisation, media reported.

The Cairo Court of Urgent Matters made the ruling after an Egyptian lawyer filed a lawsuit last November, calling for banning Hamas and classifying it as a terror organisation, Xinhua news agency reported citing Egyptian state TV.

The lawsuit argued that Hamas, an offshoot of Egypt's blacklisted Muslim Brotherhood group, used illegal underground tunnels connecting Egypt's Rafah to its twin Palestinian town to enter the country and smuggle weapons to attack Egyptian police and army personnel.

The lawsuit added that armed men from Hamas were also accused of carrying out terrorist attacks and killing over 30 people in late October 2014 as well as carrying out an armed jailbreak to free Brotherhood members during the 2011 Egyptian revolution.

On Jan 31, the same court listed al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, as a terrorist organisation, a decision coming days after a series of bloody attacks in Egypt's restive Sinai Peninsula that killed at least 33 soldiers and policemen.

In March 2014, the court banned all activities and offices of Hamas in Egypt, considering the Palestinian movement an offshoot of the Brotherhood.

Since the ouster of former Islamist president Mohammed Morsi in July 2013, Egyptian authorities have been cracking down on Islamist militant groups based in the Sinai Peninsula, of which some are accused of having links with the Hamas movement.

Islamist militants killed hundreds of security personnel in Sinai, especially in the northern district, which shares a border with the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.

Being a close ally of Morsi and his group, Hamas is not on good terms with the current Egyptian military-oriented leadership.

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