Court designates Ansar Beit al-Maqdes a terrorist group

The Cairo Court for Urgent Matters has declared Ansar Beit al-Maqdes a terrorist organization on Monday, state-owned Al-Ahram reported.

Since the ouster of Mohamed Morsi last July, the Sinai-based group has claimed responsibility for a number of high profile attacks, including an assassination attempt on the interior minister in September 2013, a suicide bombing of South Sinai’s security headquarters in October 2013, and an attack on the Cairo Security Directorate in January 2014.

The case was filed by lawyer Ibrahim Suleiman, who demanded that it be designated a terrorist organization and requested a ban on all of the group’s activities, in light of its attacks on police and army forces, EgyNews reported.

Last week, the US Department of State designated Ansar Beit al-Maqdes a Foreign Terrorist Organization in a statement.

The declaration makes it a crime for US citizens to knowingly support the organization, and freezes its assets in the United States.

The following day, spokesperson for Egypt’s Foreign Ministry, Ambassador Badr Abdel Aty, said that Egypt welcomes the decision and described it as a “step in the right direction.”

Last December, Egypt’s government officially classified the Muslim Brotherhood as a “terrorist organization,” following a September court verdict that ruled that the group was “outlawed.”

This verdict paved the way for freezing the Brotherhood’s assets, and was upheld by a higher court in November.

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