hamas rocket Gaza Israel
A masked member of Hamas movement carries a model of a rocket as others carry symbolic coffins with Israeli flags during a rallyReuters

An Egyptian court has ruled that the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas is not a terrorist organisation.

In February, a tribunal in Cairo had declared Hamas a terrorist group, after two lawyers filed separate lawsuits.

The lawyers accused Hamas of interfering in Egypt's internal matters and supporting Islamist militants who had targeted Egyptian forces in the Sinai.

Acting on the suit, the tribunal deemed the Islamist group a terrorist organisation, which drew massive condemnation from the movement.

According to the Press Trust of India, in a statement, Hamas welcomed the Cairo appeals court's ruling, saying it corrects "a wrong decision".

Egyptian authorities have accused Hamas, which is seen as the Muslim Brotherhood's Palestinian sister organisation, of backing jihadists who have carried out deadly attacks on security forces in the Sinai Peninsula.

Egypt declared the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist group in December 2013 and in March 2014, banned all Hamas activities on its soil and froze its assets.

News24 quoted judicial sources as saying that Cairo has for many years played a central role in working out ceasefires between Israel and Hamas, which dominates the Gaza Strip, including a truce reached between the sides in August that ended a 50-day Gaza war.