An Egyptian court has outlawed Muslim Brotherhood franchise Hamas as a terrorist group, closed its offices in Egypt and banned any Hamas activity in the country.
Like the Muslim Brotherhood, which Egypt has also banned, this stems from the ongoing treason trial of Mohamed Morsi, Egypt's deposed leader as well as Hamas activities in the Gaza Strip, where Egypt is accusing Hamas of supporting the al Qaeda-linked Islamists who have targeted Egyptian troops and tourists in Sinai.
One count accuses Hamas of helping Morsi in his escape from prison in 2011 and the other case accuses Morsi and other Brotherhood members of leaking state secrets to Hamas.
The court ruling is pretty much just the icing on the cake, since Egypt has already cracked down on the tunnels used for smuggling weapons, prostitutes, drugs and other items in and out of Gaza. And there's also the added benefit to Egypt of being able to tax consumer goods being imported in.
The Egyptian news site Al Ahram is reporting that the ban is 'temporary' pending the outcome of the court cases, but Morsi is pretty much a sure thing to be convicted and I'd be surprised if the ban didn't turn out to be permanent. Al-Sissi and the current government have made no secret about how much they despise Hamas and want them out of control of Gaza.
Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri characterized the ruling as targeting the Palestinian cause.
“The decision harms the image of Egypt and its role towards the Palestinian cause. It reflects a form of standing against Palestinian resistance,” Abu Zuhri said. Apparently the Egyptians prefer Fatah as their designated Palestinian terrorist group.
Deputy Political Bureau Chief of Hamas Musa Abu Marzouk, who lives in Cairo can be expected to flee to avoid arrest, most likely to Gaza.He's the second-in-command to Hamas Politbureau chief Khalid Mesh'aal, so he's a very big fish indeed.
Marzouk, who specializes in money laundering is also on the U.S. Treasury Department’s list of “Specially Designated Nationals” with whom financial transactions are prohibited and is wanted in connection with a number of felonies, but oddly enough, the Obama Administration has never seen fit to ask for his extradition.
Perhaps that's not so odd.