Despite attempts by Egyptian border guards to prevent the further entry of Palestinians from the Gaza Strip into Egypt Friday, Gazans continued to pour en masse through the breached border during the day.
Egypt has set an ultimatum for the Palestinians to return to Gaza by 7 pm, but on Friday evening, after the ultimatum has already expired, tens of thousands of Palestinians were still on the Egyptian side of the border.
Gazans near border (Photo: AP)
Earlier Friday, hundreds of Palestinians rushed into Egypt after Hamas militants used a bulldozer to knock over a new section of the border wall separating Gaza and Egypt.
Men in black clothing, some of them masked, stood atop the bulldozer as it knocked down a concrete slab under the watchful eyes of Egyptian troops on the other side who shot in the air in an attempt to hinder the flow of Gazans into Egypt.
Sources in the Strip and in Egypt estimated that some 500,000 Gazans have already crossed over to the Egyptian side.
Egyptian border guards appeared to be taking steps to close the border with the Gaza Strip on Friday, forming a human chain and blocking movement of Palestinians into Egypt with their riot shields, witnesses said.
The Egyptians were allowing passage only to Palestinians seeking to return to the strip after visiting Egypt, in the wake of the demolition of large stretches of the border wall by Hamas militants Wednesday.
Ali Waked contributed to the report