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Hamas supporters in Gaza protest Egyptian court ban

AFP , Monday 2 Feb 2015
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Hundreds of Hamas supporters marched in the Gaza Strip on Monday to protest an Egyptian court decision to declare the Islamic movement's armed wing as a banned "terrorist" group.

Waving the green flag of the movement, which is the de facto power in the coastal Palestinian territory, demonstrators chanted "Hamas is not terrorist" and "Hamas is our pride" during the rally in the northern Gaza town of Jabaliya.

In a speech to the crowd, senior Hamas official Mushir al-Masri said that Saturday's ruling against the militant group's Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades was "political" and meant to "conceal failure and the lack of security in Egypt at this time."

Since the ouster of president Mohamed Morsi in 2013, Egyptian authorities have accused Hamas of aiding jihadists who have carried out a string of deadly attacks on security forces in the Sinai Peninsula.

The verdict followed a complaint from a lawyer accusing the Hamas armed wing of direct involvement in "terrorist operations" in the Sinai, which borders Gaza, a court official said.

The lawyer also accused the movement of using tunnels under the frontier between Egypt and Gaza to smuggle arms used in attacks against the police and army, the official added.

Egypt accuses Hamas, which is close to Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood, of supporting the blacklisted Egyptian movement.

* This story has been edited by Ahram Online

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