An Egyptian court in Cairo has ordered a ban on activities in Egypt by the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, branding it a terror organization, reports The Times of Israel.
The Cairo court ordered that all Hamas offices in the country be shut down.
Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip, is a Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood. Its relationship with Egypt has been rocky since the Egyptian military removed Islamist leader Mohammed Morsi from the presidency last July.
In November, an Egyptian newspaper revealed documents purportedly showing military and financial interconnections between Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood, including connecting Hamas to Islamist terror attacks against Egyptian military forces in the Sinai Peninsula. On December 25, the military-backed Egyptian government declared the Muslim Brotherhood a terror group.
Morsi and dozens of Muslim Brotherhood leaders are facing trials on an assortment of charges, including many likely to lead to death sentences.
Morsi had a close relationship with Hamas. Hamas members stand accused of assisting Morsi and other Brotherhood members in their escape from prison in 2011. Some of the charges facing Morsi involve leaking state secrets to Hamas.
Once the military took power in Egypt, it moved to severely curtail militant Islamic activity throughout the country. It has also been involved in an effort to root out those Islamist terrorists in the Sinai Peninsula allied with Hamas in Gaza. As part of its effort, Egypt has been on a campaign to destroy the many smuggling tunnels between Sinai and Gaza Hamas uses to ship weapons and supplies.
The court decision is indicative of the seriousness of the breach between organizations related to the Muslim Brotherhood and those forces opposed to it. While Israel, the United States, Canada, the European Union and Japan all include Hamas in their lists of terror organizations, Egypt is the first Arab state to tag Hamas with the terror label.