Egypt's military-backed interim government on Wednesday declared the Muslim Brotherhood, to which ousted president Mohammed Morsi belongs, a "terrorist" group and banned all its activities, including protests.
"The Cabinet has declared the Muslim Brotherhood group and its organisation as a terrorist organisation," Hossam Eissa, the Minister of Higher Education said, reading out a statement after a long meeting of the Cabinet.
The implications of the declaration were that those who belong to the group, finance it or promote its activities would face punishment, he said.
Eissa said that the decision was in response to yesterday's bombing of a police headquarters in a Nile Delta city which killed 16 people and wounded about 150 others.
"Egypt was horrified from north to south by the hideous crime committed by the Muslim Brotherhood group," Eissa said.
"This was in context of dangerous escalation to violence against Egypt and Egyptians (and) a clear declaration by the Muslim Brotherhood group that it is still knows nothing but violence," the minister said.
"It's not possible for Egypt the state nor Egypt the people to submit to the Muslim Brotherhood terrorism," he added.
The Brotherhood has denied having a hand in the bombing, claimed by the al-Qaeda inspired group Ansar Beit al-Makdis.
All countries which signed the anti-terror agreement will be alerted of these decisions in order to take necessary measures, the statement said.
The cabinet also decided to have the police enter the university campuses to protect against any sabotage.
Social solidarity minister Ahmed al-Borei said the government would ban all activities of the Brotherhood, including protests.
This escalation gives the authorities more power to crackdown on the Brotherhood.
Prime Minister Hazem El Beblawi had yesterday declared Muslim Brotherhood a "terrorist organisation".
"Prime Minister Beblawi has declared the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organisation," state-run news agency MENA quoted the premier's spokesperson as saying.
The condemnation of the Muslim Brotherhood - considered the largest and best-organised political force in Egypt - came weeks ahead of a referendum on a new constitution that is described as a major step toward restoring democracy since the military removed President Morsi in July.
An Egyptian court has already outlawed the activities of the Brotherhood. The military-backed interim authorities have often accused the Islamist movement of funding militants.
Since the ouster of Muslim Brotherhood leader Morsi - the country's first freely elected president - his supporters have staged rallies demanding his reinstatement. Over 2,000 Brotherhood members have been arrested, including the movement's supreme guide Mohamed Badie.
The 85-year-old Islamist movement was banned by Egypt's military rulers in 1954, but registered an NGO called the Muslim Brotherhood Association in March this year in response to a court case bought by opponents who contested its legal status.
The Brotherhood also has a political wing, the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), which was set up in 2011 as a "non-theocratic" group after the uprising that forced President Hosni Mubarak from power.
Following Morsi's overthrow and the suspension of the Islamist-friendly 2012 constitution, the Cairo administrative court and the social solidarity ministry were tasked with reviewing the Brotherhood's legal status.
In September, a ruling by the Cairo Court for Urgent Matters banned the Brotherhood itself, the NGO, as well as "any institution derived from or belonging to the Brotherhood" or "receiving financial support from it".