An Egyptian court has overturned a decision to name Hamas as a terrorist organisation after months of increasing hostility towards the blockaded rulers of the Gaza Strip.
The country’s Urgent Matters Appeals Court cited a lack of jurisdiction as the reason for annulling the earlier court’s ruling.
Sami Abu Zuhri, Hamas’ spokesman in Gaza, welcomed the ruling, saying it would have “positive consequences on the relationship between Hamas and Egypt”.
Egypt initially declared the group a terrorist organisation 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 the Gaza Strip in an attempt to destroy a cross-border network of tunnels that Hamas considers a lifeline.
In recent months Egypt has appeared increasingly hostile to Hamas, which it has blamed for violence in the country’s restive Sinai Peninsula.
The secretive movement, founded in Gaza in 1987 as an offshoot of the region’sEgyptian-originated Muslim Brotherhood, faces a growing cash crisis and has yet to lay out a strategy to extract Gaza from its increasingly dire situation.
There was no immediate government reaction to the court’s decision.
An Egyptian court banned Hamas’ military wing, the Izzedine al-Qassam Brigades, and designated it a terrorist organisation in January.
In 2014, a similar ruling in the same court banned all Hamas activities in Egypt and ordered the closure of any Hamas offices, though the order apparently was never carried out.
It was not immediately clear how – or if – Saturday’s ruling would affect those previous decisions.