Armed factions of Gaza’s political groups condemned Egypt’s court decision to officially brand Hamas as a terrorist group, and called it an “unjust and suspicious” decision, in a joint statement Thursday.
“We call out to the Egyptian people to reject this oppressive decision, and we call out to the Palestinian people to express their rejection and anger,” the groups said in their statement.
The Cairo Court of Urgent Matters designated Hamas a “terrorist organisation” on 31 January.
“We do not get involved in the internal affairs of any of the Arab states, and we hope that none export their internal problems on the Palestinian people and their resistance groups,” they statement added
The armed factions included the Al-Qassam Brigades, the Islamic Jihad, and both the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, the Democratic Front, the Al-Aqsa Martyrs brigades, and other groups.
Palestinian demonstrators gathered in southern Gaza to protest Egypt’s closure of the Rafah border crossing and the Egyptian decision to designate Hamas as a “terrorist” group on Thursday, Palestinian news agency Ma’an reported.
Earlier this month, Hamas accused Egyptian forces of opening fire on the Palestinian side of the Rafah crossing, while a military spokesperson denied the accusation.
Ties between Hamas and Egypt have been strained since the ouster of former president Mohamed Morsi in July 2013, as Morsi currently faces trial for allegedly “conspiring with Hamas.”
In an effort to establish a “buffer zone” along the Rafah border, the Egyptian military has destroyed thousands of tunnels and demolished hundreds of homes.
Egyptian authorities have accused Hamas of smuggling weapons through the tunnels; meanwhile Egypt has kept the Rafah border crossing closed off to Palestinians and has aided in Israel’s 8-year-siege of the Gaza strip, Palestinian sources say.