World Bulletin / News Desk
Thousands of Palestinians staged a protest in the southern Gaza Strip city of Rafah on Thursday against a recent Egyptian court decision, designating the military arm of Palestinian faction Hamas a "terrorist organization."
The demonstrators gathered near Rafah Crossing on the border between Egypt and the blockaded Gaza Strip and chanted slogans against the Egyptian court decision.
They also called for opening the border crossing, which has been closed down for most of the past one and a half year.
On Saturday, an Egyptian court of urgent matters designated Ezzeddin al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas, a "terrorist organization."
An Egyptian lawyer had earlier accused the Brigades of involvement in a recent series of coordinated attacks on military sites in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula.
"The decision of the Egyptian court was shocking for everybody in the Gaza Strip," Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said during the protest.
"To the Egyptian judge who passed the ruling we say: you are mistaken," he added.
Relations between Egypt and Hamas – an ideological offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood – worsened soon after the Egyptian military ousted President Mohamed Morsi, a Muslim Brotherhood leader himself, in July of 2013.
Egyptian media has since been accusing Hamas of being involved in a string of attacks that mostly targeted Egyptian military and police personnel in the restive Sinai Peninsula, which shares borders with Gaza.