Israeli defense minister: Egypt’s new president should be committed to border protection

Israeli defense minister Ehud Barak said Israel expects the new Egyptian president to take responsibility for international commitments, including the peace treaty signed between the two countries.

Preliminary results of the Egyptian presidential runoff showed the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohamed Morsy narrowly defeating former Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq.

Israel has expressed fear over the destiny of the 1979 peace treaty since the ouster of former President Hosni Mubarak in February 2011, as Islamists have come to power and opposition to the treaty has grown among Egyptians.

Israeli Channel 7’s website reported that Barak called on the coming Egyptian president to secure the Sinai Peninsula and prevent attacks on the Israeli border with Egypt.

Militants who crossed into Israel from Egypt's Sinai desert fired on Israelis building a barrier on the border on Monday, killing one worker, before soldiers shot dead two of the attackers, Israel's military said.

Hours later, an Israeli air strike on the northern Gaza Strip killed two militants on a motorcycle. Islamic Jihad said they belonged to their group. The military said the strike was not linked to the incident on the border.

"We can see a disturbing deterioration in Egypt's control of the Sinai's security," Reuters quoted Barak as saying.

Three gunmen crossed into Israel from the Sinai desert, the Israeli military said. Spokesman Yoav Mordechai said "a terrorist squad opened fire and possibly also fired an anti-tank rocket at an area where (Israel) is constructing the border fence."

Soldiers who rushed to the scene killed two of the assailants but could not find the third, who may have returned to Egypt, the military said.

A military source said the worker killed was an Arab citizen of Israel. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, about 30 kilometers from the Gaza Strip.

Israel is building a fence along the frontier to curb an influx of African migrants and boost security, and hopes to complete it by the end of the year. It will run along most of the 266 km from Eilat, on the Red Sea, to the Gaza Strip.

On Saturday, at least two rockets were fired deep into southern Israel, causing no damage or casualties. It was not clear whether they were launched from Sinai.

Late on Sunday, Israeli aircraft carried out a series of strikes in the Gaza Strip in response to rocket fire from the enclave. Medical sources in Gaza said seven people were wounded.

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