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Hamas deploys forces on Egypt-Gaza border over IS group concerns

AP , Thursday 21 Apr 2016
Egypt-Gaza
Egyptian army forces drive a tank along the border between the Gaza Strip and Egypt at an area where members of the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas' security forces are gathering, as Hamas began increasing its forces, in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, on April 21, 2016 (Photo: AFP)
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Hamas has deployed forces along the Egyptian-Gaza border to counter Cairo's concerns it is aiding militants from the Islamic State group (IS) in Egypt's lawless Sinai Peninsula.

Egypt accuses Hamas, the Islamic 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 the ouster of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi; Hamas and Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood party were close allies.

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