Haniya defies Cairo to keep links with Muslim Brotherhood
GAZA CITY- Gaza's Hamas prime minister Ismail Haniya rejected on Tuesday Egypt's branding of the Muslim Brotherhood a "terrorist" organisation, saying his Islamist movement would not abandon its links with the Brotherhood.
"No one can push Hamas to reject its ideology or its history," he told a news conference, stressing he "rejects the description of the Muslim Brotherhood as terrorists".
"We don't expect a country like Egypt, which is a safe place for the Palestinian people and resistance, to abandon its (principles) and rank Hamas as a terrorist organisation," he said.
Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip, is the Palestinian affiliate of the Muslim Brotherhood. Egyptian prosecutors and police accuse the Brotherhood of having links with Hamas and Sinai militants.
Egypt's military-installed rulers gave the "terrorist" designation to the Brotherhood on Wednesday, a day after a deadly police station bombing north of Cairo claimed by an Al-Qaeda-inspired group with no known link to the movement.
The move caps a dramatic fall for the Brotherhood, which was Egypt's best-organised opposition group during decades of dictatorship and won a string of polls after the 2011 overthrow of Hosni Mubarak, culminating in Mohamed Morsi's election as president in 2012.
The military forced Morsi from power on July 3 amid massive demonstrations demanding his resignation, and he now stands accused of incitement to kill protesters and colluding with militants to carry out attacks.