Germany said Wednesday it was "deeply concerned" about mounting tensions on Egypt's border with Israel and feared the situation in the region could spiral out of control after a deadly attack.
"Foreign Minister (Guido) Westerwelle is deeply concerned about the ongoing violence in the Sinai Peninsula," ministry spokesman Dirk Augustin told a regular media briefing.
"The developments have significant potential for escalation and that is why we call on all sides to, on the one hand, take decisive action against terrorism and, on the other, display political restraint."
Egyptian helicopter gunships killed 20 militants in the Sinai Wednesday, state media and the army said, just three days after 16 soldiers were killed in an attack on the border attributed to Islamist extremists.
The air strikes on Tumah village -- the military's first in the Sinai for decades -- were carried out as security forces massed near Rafah on the Gaza border for what they called a decisive confrontation with the militants.
Egypt and Jordan are the only Arab nations that have made peace with Israel.