World Bulletin / News Desk
Hamas set up a protest tent outside the old premises of the Egyptian embassy in the Gaza Strip on Wednesday to protest the closure of the Rafah border crossing and an Egyptian ban on the Islamist movement.
"We are here to voice rejection of the siege and closure of border crossings," said Adham Abu Salema, representative of the pro-Hamas National Committee for Breaking the Siege, which set up the tent.
Scores of Hamas lawmakers, members and supporters took part in setting up the protest tent.
"We are protesting outside the Egyptian embassy because Egypt is the main defender of the Palestinian cause," Ahmed Bahr, deputy speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council, told protesters.
Egyptian authorities have tightened their control over the border with the Hamas-run Gaza Strip since last July's ouster of elected president Mohamed Morsi by the Egyptian army.
In recent weeks, Egypt has repeatedly closed the Rafah crossing, which – due to an ongoing, eight-year Israeli siege – represents Gaza's only window to the outside world.
The Egyptian army has also launched a campaign aimed at destroying the network of tunnels linking Gaza to Egypt's Sinai Peninsula, which in recent years had been used to bring vital commodities into the besieged coastal enclave, home to nearly two million Palestinians.
Bahr termed an Egyptian court verdict banning Hamas activities in Egypt as "politically motivated."
"This verdict gives the Israeli occupation a golden chance to strike the Gaza Strip," he said.
An Egyptian court recently banned the activities of Hamas in Egypt and ordered the confiscation of its offices.
Hamas is an ideological offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood, the group from which Morsi hails.
The army-backed interim authorities in Egypt listed the Muslim Brotherhood as a "terrorist movement" last December.
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