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Egypt court brands Hamas a terrorist group

A Cairo court ruled on Tuesday that the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas [JURIST news archive] is a terrorist organization and banned all activities by the group in Egypt. The ruling [BBC report] was based on connections between Hamas, the Islamist ruling party of Palestine, with the Muslim Brotherhood [party website; JURIST news archive], a similar Egyptian organization from which it split in the 1980s that was also branded a terrorist organization [JURIST report] and banned in September. Egyptian authorities have accused Hamas of interfering in Egyptian affairs since the Egyptian Revolution [JURIST backgrounder] of 2011 and aiding jihadist insurgents in the Sinai peninsula. Hamas has condemned the ruling, claiming that it is a "political decision" that "reflects a form of standing against Palestinian resistance."

The Cairo Criminal Court convicted 26 people [JURIST report] in February of forming a terrorist group with the intent to attack the Suez Canal [official website]. Two days earlier, Egypt's Prosecutor General referred [JURIST report] 504 members of the Muslim Brotherhood for a mass trial for their alleged crimes in the Day of Rage [Al Jazeera report] conflict. Earlier in February, deposed Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi [BBC backgrounder] appeared in court, but his trial was adjourned after the judge refused to remove the soundproof glass enclosure that Morsi was seated in. Egypt's Interim President Adly Mansour [BBC backgrounder] announced [JURIST report] in January that Egypt will hold presidential elections before conducting parliamentary elections.

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