U.S. Hopes Attack on Israeli Embassy in Egypt Is 'Isolated Incident'

States Department official says Washington believes Israel, Egypt have shown their commitment to calming tensions.

The United States is working to prevent recent discord between Egypt and Israel from spilling over to the rest of the Middle East, a senior U.S. official said on Monday, adding that Washington hoped that the attack on Israel's Cairo embassy was an "isolated incident.

Egypt's army rulers have struggled to quell the public fury over recent public discontent with its ties with Israel, a dissatisfaction which boiled over into an attack by protesters on the Israeli embassy that prompted Israel to fly its ambassador and embassy staff home on Saturday.

Israeli embassy, Cairo - 9.9.11 - Reuters

Both Egypt and Israel say they want a return to normal diplomatic activities. Cairo has vowed to protect the embassy and try the attackers, offering some reassurance to Israel over its commitment to a 1979 peace treaty.

Speaking of the possible aftermath of the attack of Israel's embassy, State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland told reporters on Monday that the "immediate crisis with property and diplomatic security in Cairo seems to have calmed," adding that she felt "both governments have made appropriate statements."

"Our hope is to avoid any spillover into the larger region," Nuland said, adding that the Egyptian government has made clear that they regret [the incident], that they are taking steps. They did take steps. So we are hoping that it was indeed an isolated incident."

The U.S. official added that Washington felt "that both the Egyptian and the Israeli governments spoke strongly about the importance of bringing this situation under control and the fact that it has now been brought under control gives us some hope going forward."

"But obviously we all need to be vigilant," Nuland said.

The State Department spokesperson also commented on the state of deteriorating Israel-Turkey ties, indicating that Washington was hopeful as to the prospects of the long-time allies mending their ties.

"We were pleased to see that some of the more extreme statements on both the Turkish and Israeli side with regard to their relationship seem to have been walked back in recent days," Nuland said, adding: "We are gratified by that. I think you know that we had been speaking to both sides on that situation."

"So obviously everybody in the region has a responsibility to be urging calm and to be promoting calm," the U.S. official said.