(Reuters) - An Egyptian court on Saturday banned the armed wing of Palestinian group Hamas and listed it as a terrorist organization, a ruling in keeping with a systematic crackdown on Islamists by President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.
Sisi said on Saturday Egypt faces a tough, prolonged campaign against militancy. "(It) will be difficult, strong, evil and will take a long time," he said in comments broadcast on state television after meeting top military officers.
Hamas is an offshoot of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood, which the authorities have also declared a terrorist group and repressed thoroughly since the army ousted one of its leaders, Mohamed Mursi, from the presidency in 2013.
"We reject the Egyptian court's decision against Qassam Brigades. It is a political, dangerous decision that serves only the Zionist occupation," Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri, referring to Israel's control over Palestinian territories.