Egypt has officially banned Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood-affiliate that operates in the Gaza Strip, and named it a terrorist organization.
An Egyptian court entered the decree on Saturday, Jan. 31, based on reports that Hamas aided Muslim Brotherhood operatives in Egypt carry out terrorist attacks against the Egyptian government, by smuggling weapons from the Gaza Strip into Egypt.
Egypt elected Mohamed Morsi, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, following the Egyptian revolution in 2011, which removed former President Hosnai Mubarak. The Hamas leadership was strongly supportive of Morsi.
Within a short period of time there was a backlash against Morsi for making sweeping changes to Egyptian laws and regulations, in accordance with strict Islamic rule of the radical Islamist Muslim Brotherhood. Morsi was removed from office by the Egyptian military, led by General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who was subsequently elected president.
“The court ruled to ban the (Hamas) Qassam Brigades and to list it as a terrorist group,” said Judge Mohamed al-Sayid of the special Cairo court which deals with urgent cases.
The response from Hamas was swift.
“We reject the Egyptian court’s decision against Qassam Brigades. It is a political, dangerous decision that serves only the Zionist occupation,” Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said.
In addition to denouncing the Egyptian court’s decision, Hamas retaliated by stating it would no longer accept Egypt as a broker between it and Israel, Reuters reported.
U.S. President Barack Obama had essentially knighted Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated president with being the official enforcer of the Israeli-Hamas “peace” agreement which ended an armed conflict in November, 2012. At the time, Obama said he “reaffirmed the close partnership between the United States and Egypt, and welcomed President Morsi’s commitment to regional security.”
But Morsi and his close Hamas relationship was not what the Egyptian people wanted, and the current Egyptian President has now ousted Hamas as well as the Muslim Brotherhood.
The Egyptian court ruled after coordinated terrorist attacks against Egyptian military and police sites in the Sinai Peninsula left more than 25 people dead earlier in the week.Lori Lowenthal Marcus