Egypt court declares Hamas' military wing a "terrorist organisation"

Saturday 31-01-2015 03:06 PM
Egypt court declares Hamas' military wing a

Masked Palestinian girls watch as Palestinian members of al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of the Hamas movement, take part in a military parade marking the 27th anniversary of Hamas founding, in Gaza City December 14, 2014. REUTERS/Mohammed Salem


CAIRO, Jan 31 (Aswat Masriya) - An Egyptian court of urgent matters declared on Saturday the Palestinian al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of the Gaza-ruling Hamas movement, as a terrorist organisation, banning its activities in the country.

Qassam Brigades is accused of complicity in several militant attacks on Egyptian lands, including an attack on a Sinai security checkpoint on October 24, 2014 which left at least 30 security personnel killed.

Hamas criticised the court ruling, saying it rejects "involving the Qassam Brigades in Egypt's internal affairs."

An Egyptian court banned the activities of Hamas last March and ordered the closure of all its offices in the country.

Egyptian authorities have been accusing Hamas, a strong ally of ousted Islamist President Mohamed Mursi's regime, of supporting militant attacks which target security forces.

Hamas is an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood, which was itself listed as a terrorist organisation in December 2013.

"The terrorist Muslim Brotherhood, and all terrorist organisations which back it, strives to exhaust state institutions by supporting nationwide terrorist operations," the court said in its Saturday ruling. 

The court accused the Qassam Brigades of committing criminal acts which cannot be considered of a "political, philosophical, ideological, racial or religious nature."

Hamas Spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri described Saturday's ruling as "politicised and dangerous," in a statement released on his Facebook page.

"[The ruling] only serves the Israeli occupation," Abu Zuhri said.

An urgent matters court dropped on Monday a case calling for the declaration of Hamas as a "terrorist" organisation, citing its lack of jurisdiction in the matter.

Militants have stepped up attacks targeting security forces in Egypt, particularly in the Sinai Peninsula, since the army's ouster of Mursi in July 2013, which followed mass protests against his rule. 

At least 30 people were killed and 50 others were injured late Thursday in four separate attacks against security installations in the governorate. The attack is the deadliest since the October 2014 attack. 

Hamas members are being tried alongside Mursi and other Muslim Brotherhood leaders accused of escaping from the Wadi al-Natroun Prison during the January 25 uprising which toppled former President Hosni Mubarak's regime in 2011.

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