Hamas ban in Egypt may complicate ties with Gaza

Updated: 2014-03-05 12:17


  Print Mail Large Medium  Small 分享按钮 0

CAIRO - A Egyptian Urgent Matters Court on Tuesday ordered the seizure of Palestinian Hamas movements' assets in the country, ahead of a final ruling. The recent ban may complicate Egypt's already tense ties with Gaza, where the movement is based, local analysts say.

The ruling came in response to lawsuit filed to designate Hamas as a "terrorist group", although the court stated it didn't have the jurisdiction to do so.

"Tensions between Egypt and Hamas will accumulate," said Hussein Haridi, a former assistant to foreign minister.

"Hamas faces a serious situation, after supporting the Muslim Brotherhood, at the expense of the will of (the government of) the most populous Arab country," Haridi told Xinhua.

Relations between Egypt and Gaza were greatly strained since Hamas seized control of the coastal enclave in 2007, after a brief civil war against Fatah, which is led by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Egypt never recognized Hamas' rule in Gaza under ousted president Hosni Mubarak who was toppled in 2011 after mass protests.

When in power in June 2012, the Islamist leader Mohamed Morsi managed to mediate a truce between Israel and Hamas, ending week- long fighting and lifting some of the blockade restrictions on Gaza.

Tariq Fahmi, head of National Center for Middle East Studies, described the recent ruling as "symbolic", saying Hamas is not very present in Egypt.

However the expert said the ruling is "an important warning message" to Hamas in a critical time, amid calls from the movement to "privatize the Rafah crossing" for economic benefits, and also coincides with the trial of Morsi and other top Brotherhood leaders over espionage and jailbreak.

The Egyptian state-run al-Ahram reported Tuesday that Hamas slammed the ruling, saying it "serves the Israeli occupation".

Following the removal of Morsi by the military last July, Hamas which is an offshoot of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood, was accused by the military-backed authorities of supporting the growing insurgency in the Sinai Peninsula. However Hamas denies these allegations, stressing in several occasions its full rejections for assaulting the police and army premises.

Since the army came to power last summer it has destroyed hundreds of smuggling tunnels under its border with the coastal enclave of Gaza, which is under an Israeli blockade, alleging they are used to smuggle weapons and militants who have taken part in attacks on Egyptian security forces.