Egypt's interim cabinet declared the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist group, criminalizing the finances, activities and members of the party that supported ousted President Mohammed Morsi, damaging the chances for political reconciliation in the divided country.
The government's announcement Wednesday does not bode well for Morsi and 14 other senior Muslim Brotherhood officials charged for inciting murder during his presidency, for which the former president could face the death penalty. Their trial is scheduled for Jan. 8, but Morsi challenges the validity of the court following the military coup that overthrew his democratically elected rule. He was elected by 51 percent in 2012.
The interim cabinet decreed the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist group in response to a suicide bombing of a police headquarters Tuesday in Mansoura, Egypt, which killed 16 people and wounded more than 100, according to The Guardian. An al-Qaida inspired group called Ansar Beit al-Maqdis claimed responsibility for the attack, while the Brotherhood denied involvement.
The military government banned the activities of the Muslim Brotherhood in September as part of a crackdown against the conservative Islamist group following the popular uprising in early July. Hundreds of supporters of the group have been killed or wounded in protests since July and thousands more have been jailed.