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Egypt to 'revoke citizenship' of thousands of Hamas members

March 6, 2014 12:18 P.M. (Updated: March 15, 2014 9:44 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Egyptian security services have started to collect information about thousands of Hamas members who were granted Egyptian citizenship during the rule of ousted president Mohamed Mursi, according to Egyptian media.

Egypt's Day Seven news website reported that Egyptian authorities plan to revoke the citizenship of 13,757 Hamas members for being "affiliated to an offshoot of the terrorist group the Muslim Brotherhood."

Egyptian authorities are investigating whether Hamas members have been involved in what they describe as "terrorist attacks," adding that the prime minister has the right to revoke the citizenship of Hamas members without a court ruling if it is deemed that they endanger public security.

The Egyptian news site blamed Mursi for facilitating the entry of Hamas supporters into Egypt and granting them citizenship.

On Tuesday, an Egyptian court banned the activities of Hamas and ordered its assets seized.

"The Egyptian judge who made the decision did not bring a single evidence incriminating Hamas. Thus, the movement considers the Egyptian decision a pure political decision rather than a judicial decision, and that decision serves the Israeli occupation," a Hamas official said following the ruling.

Ties between Cairo and Hamas flourished during president Mohamed Morsi's year in power but have drastically deteriorated since a military coup in July last year which saw the Muslim Brotherhood leader ousted from power.

Cairo's new military-installed authorities launched a deadly crackdown on protests by supporters of Morsi, killing in excess of 1,400 people.

Egyptian troops have also destroyed hundreds of smuggling tunnels under the border with Gaza used to supply the Palestinian enclave with fuel and construction materials due to Israeli restrictions.

Hamas has denied accusations by Egyptian officials that it is involved in fighting in the Sinai Peninsula, where militant attacks on security forces have surged since July.
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