Palestinians rush into Egypt despite restrictions

Dozens of Palestinians penetrate into Egypt from the Gaza Strip after a deadline passed for Palestinian and Egyptian security forces to close the border.

More than 40 Palestinians pushed their way inside Egypt from outside the Gaza border town of Rafah, defying a small pack of Egyptian guards armed only with sticks.

Inside Rafah, security forces sealed off the main breaches in the border barrier, but people continued to squeeze their way through smaller holes in the walls.

Dozens of people were seen overcoming the minimal security presence on both sides of the frontier.

The traffic marked the start of the third day that Palestinians have traveled freely into Egypt following Israel's pre-dawn withdrawal from the Gaza Strip on Monday.

Four national security battalions, around 1,200 men, were to be deployed along a "hermetically sealed" border to prevent any infiltrations, Colonel Jamal Kayed said.

Israel, which withdrew from patrolling the Rafah border on condition that Egyptian forces man the buffer zone, has raised alarm and urged Cairo to swiftly restore order.

The army overnight closed the Erez border crossing between Israel and the Gaza Strip to Israeli citizens, permanent residents and journalists "until further notice in light of security assessments".

It followed a threat from Public Security Minister Gideon Ezra that unless Rafah was shut, Israel would close its own borders with the Gaza Strip, the AFPreports.

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