Two Egyptian army tanks have crossed an initial border fence leading to Gaza for the first time on Thursday, witnesses said.
The Hamas administration in Gaza neither confirmed nor denied the incursion, only commenting that no Egyptian tanks had actually entered the Gaza Strip itself.
Witnesses told the AFP news agency that two tanks "crossed the first Egyptian border fence along the corridor between Egypt and (Gaza), and drove along the road running next to the cement wall that Egypt built."
They said it was the "first time Egyptian tanks have been in this area, although they didn't cross into the area ruled by Hamas," adding that the soldiers on top of the tanks had masked faces.
Twin car bomb blasts on Wednesday targeting Egypt's army killed at least six soldiers in Rafah on the border with Gaza.
Egypt's military has poured troops and armour into Sinai to quell Islamist terrorist activity which surged after the army overthrew Islamist president Mohammed Morsi on July 3. It has also put pressure on the Hamas allies of Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood - which the interim Egyptian government accused of helping the Brotherhood's violent campaign against Morsi's overthrow - destroying many of the tunnels used to bring crucial supplies into Gaza.
Meanwhile, the interim Egyptian government extended a state of emergency by two months on Thursday because of the security situation.
In a statement, presidential spokesman Ehab Bedawy announced that "President Adly Mansour decided to extend the state of emergency...by two months," adding that the decision was taken as a result of "developments and the security situation in the country."
The state of emergency was initially declared on August 14 after security forces cleared two large pro-Morsi protest camps, killing around 1,000 people in a single day and triggering weeks of violence.