Egypt Court Bans Hamas Activities, Closes Cairo Office

CAIRO, March 4 (UPI) — A court in Cairo banned all Hamas activity in Egypt and ordered the Hamas office in Cairo closed during the espionage trial of ousted President Mohamed Morsi.

Several officials of Hamas, ideologically similar to the now-banned Muslim Brotherhood, condemned the ruling, Ahram Online reported Tuesday. The relationship between Egyptian authorities and Hamas, which controls Gaza, has deteriorated since Brotherhood leader Morsi was ousted in July.

Thirty-six Muslim Brotherhood members, including Morsi, are being tried on espionage charges, accused of collaborating with Hamas, Hezbollah and other organizations “inside and outside” Egypt to smuggle arms, organize training and fund plans that threaten Egypt’s security.

Egyptian authorities have accused several Hamas members of undercutting security through a series of jailbreaks at the beginning of the 2011 revolution that resulted in Hosni Mubarak’s ouster as president.

Egyptian officials also accused Hamas of providing support to Islamic militants in their frequent and fatal attacks on security forces in the Sinai Peninsula since Morsi’s ouster, Ahram Online reported. Hamas has denied such involvement.