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.