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Egyptian Court: Hamas Is Not Terrorist Organization

FILE - Palestinian masked militants of Izzedine al-Qassam Brigades, a military wing of Hamas, mark the 11th anniversary of the Israeli assassination of Hamas spiritual leader Sheikh Ahmad Yassin in Gaza, in the northern Gaza Strip.

An Egyptian court has overturned a ruling by another court that had declared Gaza's ruling Hamas faction a terrorist organization.

There was no immediate reaction Saturday from the Egyptian government or Hamas.

An Egyptian court had labeled Hamas a terrorist group in February, one month after a similar ruling against its military wing.

Relations between the Egyptian government and Hamas have deteriorated in recent months after the Egyptian army began sealing off remaining tunnels between Gaza and the northern Sinai.

Many Egyptian analysts see Hamas as an offshoot of the now outlawed Muslim Brotherhood, dating back to Egypt's rule over Gaza from 1948 to 1967.

Egypt had close ties with Hamas under ousted Islamist President Mohamed Morsi, who ran the country from June 2012 to July 2013. Morsi is possibly facing the death penalty after being convicted of conspiring with foreign militant groups to stage a mass prison break in 2011.

He has also been convicted of arresting and torturing protesters in 2012, and accused of fraud and leaking documents.

Egypt's intelligence service, under successive governments, has actively mediated between Israel and Hamas, following conflicts in Gaza in 2009, 2012 and 2014, and between Hamas and the rival Fatah faction of Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas.