Egypt Closes Last Gap in Border With Gaza

RAFAH, Gaza Strip -- Egypt closed the last opening in its breached frontier with Gaza on Sunday, ending a chaotic 12-day influx of Gazans, and in a thinly veiled reprimand of Gaza's Hamas rulers warned that it would not permit any future border violations.

Preparing for a complete closure, Egyptian riot police allowed Gazans and Egyptians to cross back to their homes, but barred new crossborder movement. Hamas police helped Egyptian troops direct traffic.

Hamas hopes a new border arrangement can be negotiated that would end Egypt's sealing of the territory, imposed in June in tandem with an Israeli blockade.

An Egyptian diplomat said, however, that Hamas infuriated Egypt with its boasts that it would not let the border close again. The diplomat spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the media.

In Cairo, Suleiman Awwad, a spokesman for Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, struck a harsh tone Sunday.

"Egypt is a respected state, its border cannot be breached and its soldiers should not be lobbed with stones," Awwad said.