Egypt court sides against government in Saudi islands case

An Egyptian court has upheld a ruling by a lower tribunal that annulled President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi's decision to transfer two strategic islands to Saudis.

The government had appealed the lower court's decision from June before three separate courts. Tuesday's ruling came from one of the three, the Administrative Court of the State Council. The other two have yet to rule in the case.

The verdict comes amid tension between Egypt and Saudi Arabia, traditional allies who are now at odds over regional conflicts.

The government has defended the deal saying the islands of Tiran and Sanafir always belonged to the kingdom.

Saudi Arabia, which poured billions of dollars in aid to Egypt since el-Sissi rose to power, this week indefinitely halted previously agreed fuel shipments to Egypt.