A top court of the European Union has annulled the bloc’s decision to keep the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas on a list of terrorist groups.
The decision had been based not on an examination of Hamas’ actions, but on “factual imputations derived from the press and the internet”, judges found.
The court said the move was technical and was not a reassessment of Hamas’ classification as a terrorist group.
It said a funding freeze on the group would continue for the time being.
Hamas dominates Gaza and fought a 50-day war with Israel in the summer. Under its charter, the movement is committed to Israel’s destruction.
Responding to the ruling Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Hamas was a “murderous terrorist organisation” which should be put back on the list immediately.
Israel, the United States and several other nations have designated Hamas a terrorist organisation due to its long record of attacks and its refusal to renounce violence.
Hamas, which was founded in 1987, won Palestinian parliamentary elections in 2006 and reinforced its power in Gaza the following year after ousting its Fatah rivals.
Its supporters see it as a legitimate resistance movement against Israel, with whom it has fought for years.