Egypt, which has enforced the blockade with Israel since Hamas militants seized control of Gaza in 2007, said it was opening the border for several days to allow aid into the area as a humanitarian gesture. It was unclear, however, when Hamas guards at the frontier would let people out.
Several thousand Gazans — some in cars with suitcases piled on their roofs, others on foot — rushed to the Egyptian border, hoping to take advantage of a rare chance to escape the blockaded territory.
The Hamas Interior Ministry said authorities were not prepared to open the crossing and noted that government employees were on strike to mourn those killed in Monday's raid. Large crowds of people milled about the crossing, occasionally shouting at border guards, but there was no unrest.
Dozens of Hamas police with automatic weapons patrolled the area to maintain order.
"We are working to help residents take advantage of this opportunity," said Hamas Interior Ministry spokesman Ihab Ghussein. "We hope it will be open all the time, not just as a response to yesterday's events."