Egypt Moves to Seal Rafah

RAFAH, Egypt -- Egyptian forces moved to close their breached border with the Gaza Strip by stopping vehicle traffic Sunday and further tightening their security cordon around the small frontier town of Rafah in effort to contain Palestinians crossing freely into Egypt for the fifth day in a row.

One of the gaps carved into the border wall had been blocked with piles of sand and border police carrying electric cattle prods stopped cars with Palestinian plates from entering Egypt at other openings and Egyptians cars from crossing into Gaza. They were joined by Hamas-affiliated security forces who encouraged Gazan motorists to return to the Palestinian territories.

Pedestrians, however, continued to move back and forth freely, buying goods.

"Egypt will take necessary actions and measures to control the border in Gaza soon," Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit said, following a meeting in Cairo with Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad.

Outside Rafah, police tightened their cordon and increased their checkpoints to stop Palestinians from entering the rest of Egypt and in the nearby town of El-Arish, security forces approached Palestinians on the streets and ordered them home.

Palestinians who had managed to sneak into El-Arish said people would now no longer sell them anything or give them a place to stay the night, apparently under orders from security.