Hamas’s Gaza Prime Minister condemned on Tuesday Egypt's designation of the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist group last week.
Ismail Haniyeh also said that no one could label Hamas as a terrorist organization and snubbed calls by some rival factions for Hamas to sever connections with the Brotherhood.
"We reject such a classification for the Muslim Brotherhood group. No one, regardless of its influence, can push Hamas or any of the Palestinian resistance factions to abandon their ideology, abandon their history," Haniyeh was quoted by Reuters as having told reporters.
Hamas, founded in 1987 as an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood, has been seen as a major loser from the July 3 ouster Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi, who belonged to the Brotherhood.
Since Morsi’s ouster, Egypt has been clamping down on the smuggling tunnels which are used to smuggle goods but also arms and terrorists between Gaza and the Sinai.
Egypt has also accused Hamas of being involved in terror attacks in the Sinai Peninsula and of teaching Islamists in Egypt how to carry out attacks. Hamas has denied the allegations, and Haniyeh repeated that denial on Tuesday.
"We seek to reaffirm that we do not intervene in Egyptian internal affairs. Egypt cannot do without us and we cannot do with Egypt. These historical, geographic and security links can never be severed," Haniyeh said, according to Reuters.
“Hamas rejects any attempt by Egypt or any other Arab country to declare Hamas a terrorist organization," he was quoted by NRG/Maariv as saying.