Hundreds of Hamas supporters marched in Gaza on Monday to protest a ruling by an Egyptian court to declare the group’s “military wing” as a terrorist group, AFP reported.
Waving the green flag of the movement, which is the de facto power in the coastal enclave, the demonstrators chanted "Hamas is not terrorist" and "Hamas is our pride", the report said.
In a speech to the crowd, senior Hamas official Mushir al-Masri said that Saturday's ruling against the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades was "political" and meant to "conceal failure and the lack of security in Egypt at this time."
Saturday’s 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.
The Egyptian court’s decision to blacklist Hamas comes as no surprise. While the government of Islamist Mohammed Morsi was friendly with Hamas, the military-led government that ousted him has cracked down on the group, which it accuses of an attack on Egyptian police headquarters, and of planning church bombings in Sinai.
Most recently, Egypt accused Hamas of providing the weapons used by terrorists for two lethal attacks in El-Arish in October, in which dozens of soldiers were killed.
On Sunday, senior Hamas official Mousa Abu Marzouk said that the Egyptian ruling against the Al-Qassam Brigades “is a coup against the history, ethics of Egypt and its principles.”