“The decision is a coup on history,” said Hamas, adding that “the decision is shocking and dangerous and directly targets the Palestinian people and their armed resistance”, Xinhua reported.
The Cairo Court of Urgent Matters made the ruling after an Egyptian lawyer filed a lawsuit last November, calling for banning Hamas and classifying it as a terrorist organisation.
The lawsuit argued that Hamas, an offshoot of Egypt’s blacklisted Muslim Brotherhood group, used illegal underground tunnels connecting Egypt’s Rafah border to Palestine for entering the country and smuggling in weapons to attack Egyptian police and army personnel.
The lawsuit added that Hamas fighters were also accused of carrying out terrorist attacks and killing over 30 people in late October 2014 as well as carrying out an armed jailbreak to free Brotherhood members during the 2011 Egyptian revolution.
Ties between Hamas and Egypt have deteriorated since the ouster of former Islamist president of Egypt, Mohamed Morsi, in July 2013 and the new government’s outlawing of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Hamas said the decision of the Egyptian court “is an overturn which makes the Israeli occupation a friend and the Palestinian people an enemy”.
Egyptian media had accused Hamas of helping terrorists carry out a series of attacks against the Egyptian army in the country’s restive Sinai Peninsula.
“The decision is a despaired Egyptian attempt to export the internal Egyptian crisis, but it will never influence Hamas’ status which (has) gained the respect of Arabs and Muslims all over the world,” Hamas said.
Last month, the same court in Egypt listed the armed wing of Hamas — the al-Qassam Brigades — as a terrorist group, in a decision coming days after a series of bloody attacks in the Sinai Peninsula that killed at least 33 soldiers and policemen.
After Hamas had violently seized control of the Gaza Strip in 2007, Egypt kept the Rafah border crossing closed, except for temporarily opening it for humanitarian purposes.
In March 2014, the court banned all activities and offices of Hamas in Egypt.
Since the ouster of Morsi, Egyptian authorities have been cracking down on Islamist militant groups based in the Sinai Peninsula, of which some are accused of having links with the Hamas.