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Egyptian Court Rescinds Terrorist Label For Hamas

A court in Egypt has overturned a ruling that named Hamas a terrorist organization. Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, has welcomed the move.

The decision by the Urgent Matters Appeals Court said the lower court had lacked jurisdiction.

The Associated Press quotes Sami Abu Zuhri, a spokesman for Hamas in Gaza, as saying the latest court ruling would have "positive consequences on the relationship between Hamas and Egypt."

Speaking to Al-Jazeera, senior Hamas official Ghazi Hamad said the "terrorist" classification had been undeserved and expressed hope that "we can now move forward to repair the relationship between Hamas and Egyptian authorities."

Reuters notes that "Cairo has for many years played a central role in engineering ceasefires between [neighboring] Israel and Hamas, which dominates the Gaza Strip, including a truce reached between the sides in August that ended a 50-day Gaza war."

The AP offers this background: "Egypt initially declared the group a terrorist organization in February. That ruling further isolated Hamas, which once found open support under Egypt's toppled Islamist President Mohammed Morsi. Egypt's new government recently has begun clearing a buffer zone along its border with Gaza Strip in an attempt to destroy a cross-border network of tunnels that Hamas considers a lifeline."

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