An Egyptian judge on Tuesday banned all Hamas activities in Egypt, ordering the groups offices closed and assets seized. A Hamas spokesman condemned the ruling saying it would hurt Egypt’s image and shows that the Egyptian government is against the Palestinian resistance. Hamas could not be declared a terrorist group in the ruling because the judge lacked jurisdiction on that issue.
Cairo has already declared the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist group and has cracked down on its activities. Hundreds of members have been arrested since the ouster of President and Muslim Brotherhood member Mohamed Morsi. Hamas in Gaza was founded in the 1980’s as an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood and opponent of the Palestinian Fatah. Hamas and the Brotherhood have enjoyed close relations.
Egyptian soldiers stand guard atop an armored personnel vehicle on a bridge that leads to Tahrir Square in Cairo, Egypt, June 2013. (Photo: AP)
General success in the campaign to tamp down dissent and the influence of the Muslim Brotherhood emboldened Egypt’s military-backed government to turn its attention toward Hamas in Gaza. Cairo accused Hamas of conspiracy and considers it a security threat for interfering in Egyptian affairs. Specifically Hamas has been accused of aiding jihadists in the Sinai peninsula and assisting in the jailbreak of Morsi during the revolution against former President Hosni Mubarak. To combat the threat of Hamas, the army has destroyed over 1,200 tunnels between Egypt and Gaza. Government officials are also reaching out to Hamas’s political rival Fatah and supporting anti-Hamas activities within Gaza.
In other news from Egypt on Tuesday, two policemen were convicted for the murder of an activist blogger in 2010. They were sentenced to 10 years in prison for torturing the victim to death. News of the murder created a firestorm of outrage in Egypt and led to protests and a nationwide social media campaign. Along with other protests and strikes this demonstration of resistance was a precursor to the January 25th, 2011 revolution and overthrow of Mubarak.