Egyptian court bans Hamas
The Cairo Court for Urgent Matters has banned all activities in Egypt by Hamas, the Palestinian Islamist organization, and ordered the sequestration of its offices in Cairo.
The relationship between the group, which has controlled the Gaza Strip since 2006, and the Egyptian authorities has soured since the ouster of Muslim Brotherhood president Mohamed Morsi in July 2013.
Egyptian officials have accused Hamas of providing support to Islamic militants who have increased their fatal attacks on security forces in the Sinai Peninsula since Morsi's ouster.
Hamas has repeatedly denied any such involvement.
Tensions between the Islamist movement and the Egyptian authorities have also been fueled by Egypt's campaign to destroy tunnels providing vital gas and food supplies to 1.7 million Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, which has been under Israeli siege since 2007, as well as frequent closures of the Rafah crossing into the strip.
Egypt says it has destroyed near 1300 tunnels on its borders with Gaza since January 2011.
Last week, Hamas organized a sizeable rally on the Palestinian side of the crossing to demand Egypt opens the vital access point on a permanent basis.
The Islamist group maintains a hostile attitude towards Fatah, the main faction in the Palestine Liberation Organization, which controls the occupied West Bank.
Moreover, Egyptian authorities have accused several Hamas members of involvement in a series of jailbreaks at the beginning of the Egyptian revolution in January 2011.
Authorities have also charged former president Morsi of espionage with Hamas officials.
Hamas has denied any involvement in prison breaks or illegal cooperation with the ousted Islamist leader.
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