Hamas began deploying additional forces on the Gaza border with Egypt on Thursday, the interior ministry said, in an apparent effort to ease Cairo's concerns about security.
"National security forces started today to increase the number of its troops and double the security bases along all the southern border with Egypt to be able to control the border better," spokesman Iyad al-Bazm told AFP.
He said they had established three new bases immediately.
"This is a message that we are concerned with border security and stability," Bazm said, adding nobody would be allowed "to touch the security of Egypt."
Security forces were seen setting up about 10 temporary buildings along the border, and bulldozers flattened the land near the frontier in apparent preparation for more temporary structures, according to AFP.
A Palestinian security officer called the measures "important new security arrangements to reassure the brothers in Egypt the border is secure".
There have been tensions between Egypt and Gaza’s Hamas rulers for several years now, as Cairo has accused Hamas of being involved in the terrorist attacks in the Sinai, most of which have been carried out by the “Sinai Province”, which is the Islamic State (ISIS) affiliate in Egypt.
The latest example of the tension came last month when Egypt accused Hamas of involvement, along with the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood, in last year's killing of the country's top prosecutor, Hisham Barakat, an allegation which Hamas denied.
Egypt began creating a wide buffer zone along the Gaza border in late 2014 in a bid to destroy the hundreds of smuggling tunnels Cairo says are used by Palestinian Arabs to deliver weapons to jihadists who are battling Egyptian forces in the Sinai Peninsula.
The decision on the buffer zone was made following two deadly attacks in El-Arish, which killed dozens of soldiers and were claimed by Egypt’s deadliest terrorist group, the Islamic State-affiliated Sinai Province.
Egyptian sources revealed that Hamas terrorists had provided the weapons for the lethal attacks in El-Arish through one of its smuggling tunnels. Hamas denied the charge.
A delegation headed by Hamas political bureau member Mousa Abu Marzook held talks in Egypt last month aimed at normalizing the relations.
Following the visit, reports emerged that Hamas agreed to Egypt’s demands, namely that it would not interfere in Egyptian affairs, and will supervise and control the borders with Gaza, while fighting all extremists in Gaza and stopping them from infiltrating Egypt.