Egypt court annuls ruling that Hamas is terrorist group

Ruling comes less than four months after lower court initially listed the Palestinian organisation as a terrorist group.

Egyptian court''s decision on Hamas protested in Gaza
Palestinians had protested the lower court's decision to list Hamas as a terrorist organisation [File: Getty Images]

An Egyptian appeals court has cancelled a ruling to list the Palestinian group Hamas as a terrorist organisation, judicial sources have said.

The decision, released on Saturday, comes less than four months after a lower court initially listed it with the designation.

Speaking to Al Jazeera, senior Hamas official Ghazi Hamad welcomed the ruling, saying the “terrorist” classification had never been deserved.

“It is a good day. I hope we can now move forward to repair the relationship between Hamas and Egyptian authorities,” he said.

Hamas is an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood which Egyptian authorities have also declared a terrorist group and have repressed since the army ousted one of its leaders, Mohamed Morsi, from the presidency in 2013.

February: Gaza fears further isolation after Egypt court ruling on Hamas

Cairo has for many years played a central role in engineering ceasefires between neighbouring Israel and Hamas, which controls the besieged Gaza Strip, including a truce reached between the sides in August that ended a 50-day conflict.

Fight not over

The lawyer who first raised the case against Hamas told the Reuters news agency that he would request that Egypt’s foreign ministry place Hamas on its list of terrorist organisations, based on previous judicial decisions.

“This ruling does not return us to zero. I have two rulings placing the Brotherhood and the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades on the list of terrorist organisations,” Ashraf Farahat said.

Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, was classified as a terrorist organisation by Egypt in January. Hamas was then classified as a terrorist organisation in February.

At the time, Hamas spokesperson Sami Abu Zuhri denounced the court ruling.

“The Egyptian court decision … is shocking, critical and targets the Palestinian people and Palestinian resistance forces,” he said.

The Muslim Brotherhood maintains it is committed to peaceful activism and rejects links to violence.

Source: Al Jazeera, Reuters