Cairo : An Egyptian court on Tuesday banned all activities of the Palestinian militant group Hamas, an offshoot of the now-banned Muslim Brotherhood, as the army-backed regime tightened its grip on the Islamist organisation ahead of the crucial polls, reports PTI.

  The Cairo court also ordered the seizure of its assets and the suspension of all dealings with the group. Egyptian authorities have accused Hamas of plotting with deposed Islamist president Mohammed Morsi of the Brotherhood to fuel insurgency and carry out “terror attacks” on security forces in the Sinai Peninsula, which borders Hamas-ruled Gaza and Israel.

  The relationship between Hamas, which has ruled the Gaza Strip since 2006, and authorities in Egypt soured since the army toppled Morsi in July 2013 amid massive protests against his one-year turbulent rule.

 Since then the army-backed regime has intensified operations against Islamists and several Brotherhood and Hamas leaders are facing trial on various charges, including espionage and plotting terror attack against Egypt. Though the date for the presidential elections is not yet announced, authorities have cracked down heavily on Islamist groups, including Hamas which they classify as a significant security threat. The ruling by the Court of Urgent Matters did not directly declare the group a terrorist organisation. It temporarily banned all activities of Hamas.

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