Egyptian and Palestinian security commanders decided after a meeting Tuesday to close the Gaza-Egypt border, which had been overrun by thousands of people since the IDF withdrew from the region earlier this week.
The border is to be closed by Wednesday evening, Palestinian commander of southern Gaza Jamal Kaid said.
Masses cross the border (Photo: AP)
Starting Tuesday evening, Palestinian security forces will set up roadblocks near the border to prevent cars from reaching the area, he added.
The commander also said Palestinian security forces have confiscated large amounts of marijuana and other illegal drugs along the border.
He noted that the border, once heavily guarded by Israel, had divided many Palestinian families who were able to meet for the first time after Israeli troops withdrew.
Israeli officials have expressed growing concern about the chaos along the border and fears that terrorists and weapons may be smuggled into Israel.
Masses of Gaza residents went on a shopping spree Tuesday flooding the neighboring Egyptian towns and hauling home suitcases and boxes full of cheap cigarettes, food, fish and other goods.
Others searched out relatives they have not seen for years in Rafah, which is divided in two by the border. Some Gazans went as far as el-Arish, 24 miles west of Rafah, and were seen dining at seaside restaurants in the Mediterranean town.
Israeli forces withdrew from the border early Monday as they ended their 38-year occupation of the Gaza Strip. Under a deal with Israel, Egypt has deployed hundreds of troops to guard the border and prevent smuggling into Gaza.
Earlier, the Palestinian Authority warned Gaza residents not to approach the border with Egypt in Rafah, after one Palestinian man was shot dead Monday along the border.
Egyptian border troops had opened fire on Palestinian crowds who attempted to infiltrate Egypt. The Palestinian was shot in the neck after trying to cross the fence and get into Egypt.