The United States condemned an attack on Israel Monday by terrorists who crossed the Egyptian border, and voiced concern about security conditions in the Sinai peninsula.
An Israeli civilian was killed in the assault which triggered a battle with the Israeli army that left at least two gunmen dead.
“The United States condemns today’s attacks — deadly attacks, terrorist attacks — on civilians in Israel from the Sinai and all attacks of terrorism in the strongest terms,” State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told reporters.
“We remain concerned about the security situation in the Sinai peninsula and call for restraint on all sides,” she said.
“More broadly, we encourage the Egyptian government to find a lasting resolution to the issue of Sinai security.”
The incident resembled an attack in August 2011 in which gunmen infiltrated from Sinai and staged a series of ambushes in southern Israel, killing eight.
Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said after the incident that there was “a disturbing deterioration in Egyptian control in the Sinai.”
Since Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak stepped down in February 2011, Sinai has been swept by unrest, fueling fears in Israel, which shares a 240-kilometer (150-mile) border with the Egyptian peninsula.
The US reaction to Monday’s ambush followed crucial presidential elections in Egypt, as Washington voiced concern over moves by the country’s military to strip civilian leaders of authority.