Middle East

Hamas deploys forces on Egypt-Gaza border over IS concerns

  • Palestinian Hamas security forces deploy on the Palestinian side of the border with Egypt in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip, Thursday, April 21, 2016. Hamas has deployed forces along the Egyptian-Gaza border to counter Cairo's concerns it is aiding militants from the Islamic State group in Egypt's lawless Sinai Peninsula. (AP Photo/ Khalil Hamra)

    Palestinian Hamas security forces deploy on the Palestinian side of the border with Egypt in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip, Thursday, April 21, 2016. Hamas has deployed forces along the Egyptian-Gaza border to counter Cairo's concerns it is aiding militants from the Islamic State group in Egypt's lawless Sinai Peninsula. (AP Photo/ Khalil Hamra)  (The Associated Press)

  • Egyptian soldiers watch Palestinian Hamas security forces deployed on the Palestinian side of the border with Egypt in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip, Thursday, April 21, 2016. Hamas has deployed forces along the Egyptian-Gaza border to counter Cairo's concerns it is aiding militants from the Islamic State group in Egypt's lawless Sinai Peninsula.(AP Photo/ Khalil Hamra)

    Egyptian soldiers watch Palestinian Hamas security forces deployed on the Palestinian side of the border with Egypt in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip, Thursday, April 21, 2016. Hamas has deployed forces along the Egyptian-Gaza border to counter Cairo's concerns it is aiding militants from the Islamic State group in Egypt's lawless Sinai Peninsula.(AP Photo/ Khalil Hamra)  (The Associated Press)

  • Palestinian Hamas security forces stand in formation on the Palestinian side of the border with Egypt in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip, Thursday, April 21, 2016. Hamas has deployed forces along the Egyptian-Gaza border to counter Cairo's concerns it is aiding militants from the Islamic State group in Egypt's lawless Sinai Peninsula. (AP Photo/ Khalil Hamra)

    Palestinian Hamas security forces stand in formation on the Palestinian side of the border with Egypt in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip, Thursday, April 21, 2016. Hamas has deployed forces along the Egyptian-Gaza border to counter Cairo's concerns it is aiding militants from the Islamic State group in Egypt's lawless Sinai Peninsula. (AP Photo/ Khalil Hamra)  (The Associated Press)

Hamas has deployed forces along the Egyptian-Gaza border to counter Cairo's concerns it is aiding militants from the Islamic State group in Egypt's lawless Sinai Peninsula.

Egypt accuses Hamas, the Islamic militant group that rules Gaza, of providing a safe haven for IS's Sinai affiliate through a network of smuggling tunnels. Hamas denies that.

On Thursday, armed Hamas men took up positions along the 13 kilometer border, with fighters in pick-up trucks patrolling back and forth.

Hamas says the deployment is part of an agreement reached with Egyptian officials last month. Analysts describe it as a unilateral step by Hamas to send assurances to Cairo.

Relations between Hamas and Egypt soured after the 2013 military ouster of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi; Hamas and Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood party were close allies.