Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Egyptian court temporarily bans all activities of Hamas in Egypt

Khaled Meshaal

Updated. An Egyptian court on Tuesday banned all activities of Hamas in Egypt, pending a court verdict in an espionage case involving ousted president Mohamed Morsi and members of the Islamist Palestinian group.
The court also banned all "organisations or groups branching from, financed or supported by Hamas," a judicial source told Ahram Online.
"The court has ordered the banning of Hamas work and activities in Egypt," a judge, who asked to remain anonymous, told Reuters.The court also ordered the closure of Hamas offices in Egypt. Hamas condemned the ruling, saying that it "strongly condemned" what it described as an "unjustifiable" and "highly political" decision that was based on "fabrications and false news." "Hamas has neither activities nor official offices in Egypt, whether before, during or after the [2011 revolution]," a Hamas official said in a statement e-mailed to Ahram Online.

Hamas is an offshoot of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood, which has been declared a terrorist group by Egypt's army-backed government. Egyptian authorities see Hamas a major security threat, accusing the group of supporting al Qaeda-inspired Islamist insurgents in the Sinai peninsula, which Hamas denies.
The case against Hamas was filed by a group of Egyptian lawyers last year asking for Hamas to be banned and be designated as a terrorist organization.
When Mursi was in power, Hamas held its secretive internal elections in Egypt in 2012. A top Hamas official, Musa Abu Marzouk, lives in Cairo and may be at risk of arrest by the new court decision.
Since it seized power in Egypt last summer, Egypt's military has squeezed Gaza's economy by destroying most of the 1,200 tunnels used to smuggle food, cars and weapons to the coastal enclave, which is under an Israeli blockade.

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