Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (2nd R) and Defence Minister Ehud Barak (L) listen to Tal Russo (2nd L), head of southern command, as they stand in front of a burned Egyptian military vehicle. (Photo: Reuters)
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday expressed regret over the deaths of 16 Egyptian guards in an attack on Sunday by gunmen on the border with Israel, his office said in a statement.
It said that he was speaking during a visit with Defence Minister Ehud Barak to the site where five attackers crashed across the frontier in an armoured vehicle into the self-proclaimed Jewish state, where they were killed by Israeli forces.
"I wish to express my regrets at the deaths of the Egyptians," the statement quoted Netanyahu as saying.
"I think it is clear that Israel and Egypt have a common interest in keeping the border between us peaceful," he added, going on to congratulate the Israeli military and security services for "preventing a very major attack" on Israelis.
Barak said that the attempt was unlikely to be the last.
"I hope that this will be a wake-up call to the Egyptians regarding the need to be alert and effective on their side," his office quoted him as saying.