An Egyptian court has ruled that Hamas is a terrorist organization, following the group’s active support for Islamist terror groups in the Sinai Peninsula.
According to Egyptian Mena state news agency, Judge Mohamed el-Sayed said on Saturday, “It has been proven without any doubt that the movement [Hamas] has committed acts of sabotage, assassinations and the killing of innocent civilians and members of the armed forces and police in Egypt.”
Hamas is an offshoot of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood which the authorities have also declared a terrorist group since the army ousted one of its leaders, Mohamed Morsi, from the presidency in 2013.
The ruling against Hamas goes a step further than a previous decision in January which banned Hamas’s military wing, the Qassam Brigades.
Egyptian officials have long accused Hamas of aiding Sinai terror groups to launch attacks against Egyptian security personnel in the wake of the ousting of the Muslim Brotherhood in 2013.
Egyptian authorities recently razed more than 800 homes in Rafah, to help create a buffer zone which aims to prevent the Hamas-supported smuggling of arms and fighters into the Sinai Peninsula from the Gaza Strip.
Egypt has destroyed more than 1,500 smuggling tunnels in an attempt to stem the flow and has maintained an almost complete closure of the Rafah border crossing with Gaza.