An Egyptian court outlawed the terror group Hamas on Tuesday, much like it banned the Muslim Brotherhood earlier this year, and ordered all of its assets seized.
The judge explained that the decision stems from the risks Hamas poses to Egyptian security. He accused the organization of terrorist activities in cooperation with the Islamist group called Al Qaeda in the Sinai Peninsula.
The court ruling is a blow to the economic power of Hamas rulership in Gaza, which had previously cooperated with Egypt in facilitating trade and smuggling activities; in addition, Hamas offices will be shuttered all over Egypt.
Hamas officials slammed the decision as a political tactic. "Any decision such as this is an attempt to besiege the Resistance, and serves the Israeli occupation," Bassem Naim, a senior official in Hamas, told AFP Tuesday.
While the government of former Islamist president Mohammed Morsi was friendly with Hamas, the military-led government that ousted him has cracked down on the group, which it accuses of a December attack on Egyptian police headquarters, and of planning church bombings in Sinai last Christmas.
Hamas has denied the Egyptian government’s allegations, claiming they were an “attempt to demonize Hamas”.
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.
Sources in Egypt recently hinted that now that the Egyptian military has taken care of Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood, its offshoot Hamas was next to face the music.
"We cannot be liberated from the terrorism of the Brotherhood in Egypt without ending it in Gaza, which lies on our borders," an Egyptian security official told Reuters in January.