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Palestinian Hamas group not a terror organisation: Egypt Court

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Cairo:  The Cairo Appeal Court for Urgent Matters on Saturday canceled a previous verdict labeling Palestinian Hamas group as a terror organisation.

The court accepted an appeal filed by the State Litigation Authority, which represents the Egyptian government, against the verdict that a lower court had issued on February 28, designating Islamic movement as a terrorist organisation.

The court said the lower court lacked jurisdiction to issue such a verdict in the first place, according to the report.

On February 28, the Cairo Court for Urgent Matters made the ruling after an Egyptian lawyer filed a lawsuit in last November calling for banning Hamas and classifying it as a terror organisation.

The lawsuit argued that Hamas, an offshoot of Egypt’s blacklisted Muslim Brotherhood group, used illegal underground tunnels connecting Egyptian Rafah to its twin Palestinian town to enter the country and smuggle weapons to attack Egyptian police and army personnel.

The lawsuit added that Hamas militants are also accused of carrying out terrorist attacks and killing over 30 people in late October 2014 as well as carrying out an armed jailbreak to free Brotherhood members during Egypt’s popular uprising in 2011.

On January 31, the same court listed al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, as a terrorist organisation. The court ruling came days after a series of bloody attacks occurred in Egypt’s restive Sinai Peninsula that killed at least 33 soldiers and policemen.

In March 2014, the same court ordered to ban all activities and offices of Hamas in Egypt, considering the Palestinian movement an offshoot of the Brotherhood.

Since the ouster of Islamist president Mohammed Morsi in July 2013, Egyptian authorities have been cracking down on Islamist militant groups based in the Sinai Peninsula, of which some are accused of having links with the Hamas movement.

As a close ally to Morsi and his group, Hamas was not in good terms with the current Egyptian military-oriented leadership.

Meanwhile, the Hamas group has welcomed the overturning of a verdict, saying in a statement that the ruling was “a correction of a previous mistake”. (IANS)

 

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Centuries-old Egyptian Mummy, Artefacts Unearthed

The ancient Egyptian ‘necropolis’ — literally meaning “city of the dead” — had long remained a mystery until 1927, when an antiquities inspector first discovered it

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The Mummy Museum
The Mummy Museum. wikimedia

A centuries-old Egyptian high priest’s mummy and ancient artefacts were discovered on Monday from a remote burial site in Al-Ghorifa, some 165 miles south of Egyptian capital Cairo.

The site was discovered by explorer Josh Gates and renowned Egyptologist Zahi Hawass, who hosted the live broadcast of the reveal on Discovery Channel in the two-hour programme “Expedition Unknown: Egypt Live”.

The broadcast showed the opening of a sealed sarcophagus (stone coffin), which contained the mummy of an exquisitely preserved 2,500-year-old high priest, covered from top to bottom in gold banding and other artifacts.

It also revealed two other mummies, one of them inside a more than 2,500-year-old ‘Family Tomb’, the final resting place of a family. The tomb also included unique objects like an ancient Egyptian board game, remains of a dog and four canopic jars used to store a mummy’s organs.

“While the second mummy was not of a high priest or fully preserved, the objects inside the tomb and inscriptions on his sarcophagus reveal that he was a singer in the temple of Thoth, an Egyptian god,” a statement by Discovery said.

Artifacts
Ancient mummified hand recovered during ICE HSI’s Operation Mummy’s Hand. (Courtesy: U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement). VOA

A mysterious wax head of a high priest was also found in the excavation.

Gates, following the broadcast, said: “There aren’t many who have gone down into unexplored ancient tombs. We were able to document spectacular artefacts and mummies and bring viewers along in real time. It was the thrill of a lifetime.”

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“The programme was seen by millions of people. We are sending an important message that Egypt is safe and we invite tourists to come,” Mostafa Waziri, the secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities of Egypt, said in a statement.

The ancient Egyptian ‘necropolis’ — literally meaning “city of the dead” — had long remained a mystery until 1927, when an antiquities inspector first discovered it. (IANS)