Egypt to Block Car Traffic From Gaza

RAFAH, Egypt -- Egyptian border guards moved Thursday to prevent all car traffic from entering the country from the Gaza Strip, but still allowed hundreds of Palestinians in on foot.

The development reflected Egypt's intentions to contain the influx from the breached boundary, but worries grew among the Gazans that the Egyptians could soon completely seal the border.

Sporadic gunshots were heard coming from inside Gaza, but it was not immediately clear who was shooting in the Hamas-controlled coastal strip.

A young bearded man, likely from Hamas' security service, in a raincoat and with an AK-47 slung over his shoulder, said the militia was told Wednesday night not to let Palestinians into Egypt anymore.

The Egyptians meanwhile, were allowing vehicles with Egyptian license plates back from Gaza. Since Hamas blew up the border wall over a week ago setting off the flood of Gazans eager to stock up on supplies here, Egyptian traders have also driven into the strip to sell their merchandise there.

But Gazans were increasingly concerned that the shopping bonanza would soon be over and the border resealed.

Egypt has worked hard to keep Palestinians bottled up near the border since hundreds of thousands poured across after last week's breach. The Palestinians are continuously stopped at checkpoints, and most make it no farther than the divided town of Rafah.

But some Palestinians, and perhaps also some weapons from Gaza, have made it to other parts of Egypt, including Cairo. This stepped up Egyptian concerns that Gazans, if not contained in the border area, could become a problem for the rest of the country.

Israel has warned its citizens against visiting the beach resorts of Sinai, the vast desert peninsula between the Gaza border and Cairo.