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Egypt Takes Hamas Off Terror List

Saturday's decision is seen as a key step in the easing of relations between Egyptian and Palestinian officials. However, Hamas' sister organization in Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood, is still outlawed by the country's government.

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An Egyptian court on Saturday moved to cancel a ruling that placed the Palestinian group, Hamas, on the country's list of terrorist organizations, Reuters reported.

The group's armed wing, the Qassam Brigades, were first put on the list back in January.

In the wake of Saturday's decision, the lawyer who first took Hamas to court remained defiant.

"This ruling does not return us to zero. I have two rulings placing the Brotherhood and the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades on the list of terrorist organisations," Ashraf Farahat told Reuters.

Egypt, the most populous country in the Arab world, has for many years played the role of intermediary in the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians.

But following the overthrow of Islamist president Mohammed Morsi in the summer of 2013 by the country's military, the government that followed, led by General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, moved to crack down on Hamas militants, who government officials believed were smuggling weapons into Egypt.

Those weapons, officials said, were destined to Hamas' offshoot organization in the country, the Muslim Brotherhood.

Following Morsi's ousting, the Muslim Brotherhood was also outlawed in Egypt and remains so to this day. The group's representatives, however, deny having anything to do with terrorism and maintain their organization is committed to peaceful activism only.

Same Abu Zuhri, an Hamas representative, called Saturday's decision as "correcting a previous mistake."

"The decision today represents a commitment by Cairo to its strong role towards the Palestinian cause. There is no doubt that [it] will have positive results and impacts on the relation between Hamas and Cairo," he told Reuters.

Hamas is the dominant political and armed faction in the Gaza Strip. Last August, Cairo officials played a key role in brokering a cease-fire between Hamas militants and Israel, following almost two months of intense fighting.

Felipe Araujo is the overnight homepage editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

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