The United States expressed restrained support for Israel Friday night after apparent Israeli artillery fire caused the death of at least 12 Palestinians and wounded dozens more on a Gaza coast beach earlier in the day. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said that Israel had the right to defend itself, especially while terrorists were attacking it. McCormack added, however, that Israel must consider the results well and do what was necessary to prevent harming innocent civilians. France's Foreign Ministry expressed regret about the incident, calling the shelling "disproportionate" and urged calm in the region. The message from Paris came before Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is expected in the French capital for talks with President Jacques Chirac and other leaders next week. "France deplores Israel's bombardments on a beach in the Gaza Strip, whose disproportionate character has cost the lives of several civilians and injured many others," a Foreign Ministry statement said. France expressed its condolences to relatives of the victims and urged "restraint among the two parties, to put an end to the spiral of violence," the statement said. Egypt also condemned the IDF artillery fire. "Israel's disproportionate use of power in a densely populated area contradicts international law," said a statement coming out of Egypt. Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit sent his condolences to the victims and added "Israel's use of strength was unacceptable."