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Last Updated: Tuesday, 13 September 2005, 14:57 GMT 15:57 UK
Chaos continues in the Gaza Strip
Palestinians carry away roof tiles from Neve Dekalim
Gazans have scavenged what they can from demolished settlements
There have been chaotic scenes in Gaza as Palestinians continued picking through the rubble of former Israeli settlements.

In several abandoned settlements, Palestinian police failed to stop big crowds from taking building materials and equipment left by the Israelis.

In the south of Gaza, Palestinians flooded to Egypt across the border which had been previously sealed off.

The border will be shut again by Wednesday evening, reports say.

Meanwhile, a day after the last Israeli troops left Gaza, Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei has been touring what was the Gush Katif bloc of settlements.

You won't profit from a pillar, plastic tubing or pieces of wood that you are taking
Palestinian PM Ahmed Qurei

He visited a school in what used to be the Palestinian enclave of Mawassi in the settlement bloc.

Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas is expected to address Palestinians later on Tuesday, about the withdrawal of Israeli troops.

He is to unveil a plan of action through which his government aims to rebuild Gaza and create jobs.

Border 'overrun'

In a number of the former Jewish settlements, Palestinian police tried in vain to expel hundreds of scavengers.

People were seen ripping out irrigations hoses and taking the tarpaulin covering of greenhouses.

Palestinians celebrate as Israeli soldiers leave Gaza.

Mr Qurei urged Palestinians to stop looting and start rebuilding the abandoned settlements.

"You won't profit from a pillar, plastic tubing or pieces of wood that you are taking. Protect them because they are yours," he said in Neve Dekalim.

On Gaza's border with Egypt, people in the divided town of Rafah have continued to cross back and forth for a second day.

They have been shopping on the Egyptian side, stocking up on cheaper cigarettes, food and medicine.

Some are going simply to sightsee, while others are visiting relatives they have not seen for years, the BBC's Lucy Williamson in Gaza reports.

The border near Rafah is guarded by Palestinians on the Gaza side, and, in accordance with an agreement with Israel, by Egyptian troops on the Egyptian side.

The mass crossings have raised questions about Egypt's ability to maintain security along the border, particularly against possible arms smuggling to Palestinian militants in Gaza, correspondents say.

Egyptian and Palestinian officials decided after talks later on Tuesday to close the Gaza-Egypt border, officials said.

'End of military rule'

On Monday, jubilant Palestinians took control of the Gaza Strip following the Israeli withdrawal, more than 38 years after they captured the area.

Thousands entered the former Jewish enclaves, some setting an abandoned synagogue ablaze in a settlement.

Israel declared a formal end to military rule on Sunday before its remaining 3,000 troops left.

But it retains control over the territory's air and sea space and, at least temporarily, all its borders.

The Israelis say they have to prevent militant groups smuggling in weapons, but the Palestinians say that as long as Israel controls all Gaza's links with the outside world, the occupation will continue.

The Palestinian Authority says it will continue to insist on total freedom of movement between Gaza and Egypt - otherwise, they add, the Israeli occupation of Gaza will not have really ended.


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