Egyptian Court bans ‘armed wing’ of Hamas, labels it ‘terror group’

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi gives a speech outside the Supreme Council in CairoEgyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi gives a speech outside the Supreme Council in Cairo

Hamas’s rapprochement with Iran and Hezbollah

Just days after a series of terror raids in the Sinai Peninsula, a Court in Egypt has banned the armed-wing of Hamas and labelled it a terror organization.

Last week’s attacks, which indicated a high level or coordination, included a bomb explosion at a military base in northern Sinai. In total, at least 27 people were killed in the attacks. Islamist terror group Ansar Bait al-Maqdis, which pledged allegiance to ISIS several months ago, took responsibility for the attacks.

However, an Egyptian government official said, “Such an attack could not have happened without Hamas.” Egyptian officials have long accused Hamas of supporting terrorist groups in Sinai and have taken extensive action to destroy smuggling tunnels used to transfer arms and fighters from the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip.

Hamas is linked to the Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamic group which supports ousted leader Mohamed Morsi. The Muslim Brotherhood has also been banned in Egypt.

Last October, Egypt accused Hamas of providing the weapons used by terrorists for two lethal attacks in El-Arish in October, in which 33 security personnel. were killed.

Egypt declared a state of emergency in the Sinai following that attack and began to create a buffer zone along the border with Gaza.

In its ruling, Egyptian Judge Mohamed al-Sayid of a special Cairo court said, “The court ruled to ban the (Hamas) Qassam Brigades and to list it as a terrorist group.”

Meanwhile, a leading Hamas official has called on Iran to supply it with more funds and weapons, in order to help it “destroy the Israeli occupation.”

Speaking to the Hezbollah affiliated Al-Manar television network, Mahmoud Zahar said Hamas will cooperate with Iran “for the sake of Palestine.”

Hamas is thought to be undergoing a rapprochement with Tehran, after Iran cooled ties over Hamas’ refusal to back President Assad in the Syrian civil war. Hamas sources confirmed that Iran has agreed to resume financial aid to Hamas

Two Hamas delegations reportedly visited Tehran in recent weeks, while the organisation’s leader Khaled Meshaal is apparently expected to visit Iran in the near future. It was recently rumoured that Meshaal would be expelled from Qatar, where he resides, as the Gulf State looks to build warmer relations with Egypt.

Hamas has also been working to mend fences with Hezbollah.

Last weekend, representatives of Hamas and Hezbollah met in Beirut to discuss cooperation between the two parties.

Reports in the Lebanese media said the two sides “affirmed the need for consolidating cooperation and preventing tensions.”

Hamas leaders recently sent letters of condolence to Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah over the killing of several senior Hezbollah operatives in the Syrian part of the Golan Heights. In their letters, the Hamas leaders stressed the importance of cooperation with Hezbollah in the fight against Israel.

In the interview Mahmoud Zahar called on Nasrallah to coordinate with Hamas with regard to attacks against Israel across the Lebanese border.