Egypt court bans Hamas armed group News
Egypt court bans Hamas armed group

[JURIST] The Cairo Appeals Court for Urgent Matters on Saturday banned and declared Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades (Qassam Brigades) [organization website] to be a terrorist group. Qassam Brigades is the armed branch of Hamas [organization backgrounder], which is itself an offshoot of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood [BBC profile; JURIST news archive]. The ruling is based on allegations by Egyptian officials that Qassam Brigades played a role in the bombing attack on Sinai Peninsula last October and that members have been smuggling weapons from Gaza into Egypt [DW report] for use in the ongoing conflict between government forces and armed revolutionary groups. Hamas spokesperson Sami Abu Zuhri described the verdict [Reuters report] as a “dangerous” promotion of Israel’s occupation of Palestine.

Political conflict in Egypt has been ongoing since the 2011 revolution [JURIST backgrounder] that ousted former president Hosni Mubarak [BBC profile] from power. This unrest led the Egyptian government to enact a law [JURIST report] banning unauthorized protests in November 2013. Since the law was passed, numerous demonstrators have been detained, especially those affiliated with ousted former president Mohammad Morsi [BBC backgrounder] and his Muslim Brotherhood party. Last week Egyptian security forces arrested 516 Muslim Brotherhood supporters [JURIST report]. The week before that an Egyptian court ordered a retrial [JURIST report] for 152 Muslim Brotherhood supporters sentenced in a mass trial last year. Also earlier this month Egypt’s Court of Cassation ordered a retrial [JURIST report] for three Al Jazeera journalists jailed for falsifying news reports and associating with the Muslim Brotherhood. In December an Egyptian criminal court sentenced 188 Muslim Brotherhood supporters to death [JURIST report] for an August 2013 attack on a police station in the governate of Giza, widely known as the “Kerdasa massacre.”