CAIRO, Egypt - A court banned the Muslim Brotherhood from operating in Egypt and ordered the confiscation of all its assets Monday in a dramatic escalation of the country’s deadly political conflict.
The ruling means the organization is prohibited from carrying out any activities in Egypt – including protests, demonstrations or fundraising events.
A Muslim Brotherhood source said the group planned to appeal the decision within ten days.
The ruling, which was confirmed by judicial officials and reported on state television, marks the latest division between Egypt’s military-backed interim government and supporters of ousted Islamist president Mohammed Morsi.
Morsi, a senior Muslim Brotherhood figure, won the 2012 election that followed the Arab Spring overthrow of secular hardliner Hosni Mubarak.
He was removed from power by military generals in a July 3 overthrow. A subsequent crackdown prompted clashes in which hundreds of Muslim Brotherhood supporters and dozens of security forces were killed.
Monday's ruling does not mean the organization is completely outlawed, although that option is being considered in a separate court trial.
However, it opens door for authorities to track down the group's elaborate network of social services, dealing a deadly blow to its pillars of grass-root support.
It is also raises the prospect that some members might move towards extreme organizations such as al Qaeda, although the Muslim Brotherhood has officially denounced violence.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
First published September 23 2013, 6:41 AM