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Haniyeh: Hamas in touch with Egypt over ‘terror’ label

Senior Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh said Tuesday that his group was in touch with Egyptian officials in hopes of “rectifying” a recent Egyptian court verdict designating Hamas a “terrorist organisation.”

“Hamas is holding contacts with the Egyptian authorities in hopes of rectifying the court ruling… which was a major mistake,” Haniyeh said at a mourning ceremony held in Gaza for a deceased group founder.

He went on to slam the court verdict as “a deviation from Egypt’s longstanding position in support of the Palestinian cause.”

The Egyptian authorities, for their part, have yet to comment on Haniyeh’s remarks.

On Saturday, an Egyptian court designated Hamas a “terrorist organisation.”

The move was based on claims that the group had carried out terrorist attacks in Egypt via cross-border tunnels linking the Sinai Peninsula to the Gaza Strip.

In March of last year, the same court outlawed all Hamas activities in Egypt and shut the group’s Cairo offices.

At the time, the court had said the ban would be temporary until another court – which is currently trying ousted President Mohamed Morsi for alleged “collaboration” with Hamas – delivered its final verdict.

In late January, another Egyptian court similarly declared the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas’ armed wing, to be a “terrorist organisation.”

A number of Hamas members have been among the defendants in two trials for “espionage” and “jailbreak” that Morsi – a Muslim Brotherhood leader – currently faces in Egypt.

Egypt’s media blames Hamas, an ideological offshoot of Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood, for a series of deadly attacks on security forces carried out since Morsi’s ouster by the army in mid-2013.

Hamas, for its part, has consistently denied the claims.

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