A lawyer who successfully petitioned an Egyptian court to brand Hamas a terror organization has withdrawn the claim, leading to some reports in Arab media Friday that the move annulled the ruling. But others claimed it still stood, at least for now.
According to various Arab media reports, attorney Samir Sabry, who had originally argued that Hamas was involved in attacks against Egyptians and should thus be dubbed a terror group, pulled the motion after the state appealed the court’s decision.
Sabry explained that he didn’t want the court ruling to interfere with Cairo’s role as a mediator between Hamas and Fatah in Palestinian reconciliation efforts, according to the Cairo Post.
While the Cairo Post said Sabry’s withdrawal effectively annulled the court’s ruling, it’s status remained unclear on Friday. Jordan-based Al Bawaba News stated that the move did not automatically invalidate the decision, and that the court would need to decide on its fate.
Further court deliberations would reportedly be held on Saturday.
Last month’s decision to designate Hamas as a terrorist group greatly irked the Islamists currently in control of the Gaza Strip, as relations dramatically soured between Egypt and Hamas. Sissi blames the group for supporting the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood, as well as a vigorous jihadist insurgency against the government in Egypt’s restive Sinai peninsula that exploded following the removal of the Morsi government in 2013.
Following a series of deadly attacks on government forces in the region, Sissi embarked on a campaign to destroy Gaza’s elaborate tunnel infrastructure on its southern border, demolishing a series of buildings in the coastal enclave and establishing a firm buffer zone between the two regions.
The tunnels were largely used to usurp Israel’s military blockade of the region and smuggle a wide variety of goods, however both Israeli and Egyptian authorities strongly believe the nexus of passageways provided Hamas and their allies in Sinai a steady supply of weapons and other dangerous materials.
The news from Egypt followed the European Union’s decision on Friday to keep Hamas on its terrorism blacklist despite a controversial court decision ordering Brussels to remove the Palestinian Islamist group from the register.
Brussels lodged an appeal against the December ruling by the bloc’s second highest court stating that Hamas should be removed from the list for the first time since 2001.
Hamas denounced the EU’s decision, contending that Brussels was contradicting the verdict of its court.
“It is unjust and wrong to our people and legitimate resistance, and also encourages the occupation to continue its crimes,” Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhum said while speaking about Israel.
“We reject this decision and call for its review, and to remove all forms of injustice against our people and Hamas,” Barhum said.