Gaza, 13 Rabi’ul Akhir 1436/3 February 2015 (MINA) – Protesters in the besieged Gaza Strip have held a rally to condemn an Egyptian court decision to blacklist the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of the Palestinian resistance movement Hamas, as a “terrorist” organization.
Hundreds of people took to the streets in the northern Gaza town of Jabaliya on Monday, waving the green flag of Hamas, which governs Gaza, while shouting “Hamas is not terrorist” and “Hamas is our pride,” Press Tv quoted by Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA) as reporting.
On Saturday, the Cairo Court of Urgent Matters claimed in a lawsuit that Hamas was involved in recent attacks against Egypt’s security forces.
“The court ruled to ban the Qassam Brigades and to list it as a terrorist group,” said Judge Mohamed al-Sayid in a ruling deemed in line with a systematic crackdown on opposition by the government of President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.
Top Hamas official Mushir al-Masri told those attending Monday’s march that the court ruling is “political” and aims to hide “failure and the lack of security in Egypt at this time.”
Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri had earlier censured Cairo over the move, saying, “We reject the Egyptian court’s decision against Qassam Brigades. It is a political, dangerous decision that serves only the Zionist occupation.”
Relations between Egypt and Hamas
Following the ouster of Egypt’s former president, Mohamed Morsi, in July 2013, relations between the Egyptian government and Hamas strained.
Egypt has stepped up destruction of cross-border tunnels into Gaza since then as more than 1,600 tunnels have been demolished since the military-backed government came to power in Cairo last year.
In early January, Egyptian army sources said the military began operations to increase the size of the existing 500-meter buffer zone along the border with Gaza to a full kilometer.
The Cairo authorities decided to create the buffer zone after deadly attacks in the restive Sinai Peninsula that targeted more than 30 Egyptian soldiers in October 2014.
The underground routes are the only lifeline for the people of Gaza living under the Israeli blockade. Palestinians use the tunnels to bring essential supplies, such as foodstuff, cooking gas, medicines, petrol, and livestock into the impoverished Palestinian territory. (T/P011/P3)
Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)