JERUSALEM — Israel and Lebanon tried Monday to ease tensions after a deadly border skirmish that left one Israeli soldier dead. Officials of the two countries held a face-to-face meeting with UN peacekeepers and pledged their commitment to a seven-year-old cease-fire.
The UN peacekeeping force along the volatile border, UNIFIL, said it called the meeting to ‘‘establish the facts and circumstances’’ behind the flare-up in violence and to restore a cease-fire that has been in place since a 2006 war. It said both sides pledged to preserve ‘‘calm and stability.’’
In Sunday’s incident, a Lebanese sniper opened fire at an Israeli vehicle traveling near the border area of Rosh Hanikra, killing a soldier inside. Several hours later, the Israeli military said it shot two Lebanese soldiers after spotting ‘‘suspicious movement’’ in the same area.
It was the heaviest fighting between the enemy countries in more than three years and drew condemnations and threats of retaliation from Israel.
Late Monday, the Lebanese army distanced itself from the shooting, saying it was the result of an ‘‘individual act’’ by a soldier.
It said a military committee was investigating the shooting and was coordinating with the UN peacekeeping mission. With the shooter in custody, there was no word on a motive for the attack and no mention of the two soldiers allegedly shot by Israel. The Lebanese army stressed its full commitment to UN resolutions, including maintaining the 2006 cease-fire.
The tame language, and near apology for the incident, was rare for the Lebanese military, which is usually quick to point out Israeli border transgressions. It suggested that Lebanon was keen to avoid a conflagration on its border at a time of severe tensions resulting from the civil war in neighboring Syria.
Likewise, Israeli officials tried to lower the tensions. ‘‘The idea is to bring the situation back to normal and not aggravate the situation,’’ said Lieutenant Colonel Peter Lerner, a military spokesman.
The border has remained mostly quiet since the monthlong war in the summer of 2006, though there have been sporadic outbursts of violence.
In the most serious incident, Lebanese forces killed a high-ranking Israeli officer in 2010, asserting that the Israeli army had crossed the border while uprooting a tree. Israel responded with artillery fire that killed three Lebanese. Given the years of enmity between the two countries, even the smallest incident raises the risk of sparking a wider conflict.
Lebanon and Israel have been officially at war since Israel’s creation in 1948. Each country bans its citizens from visiting the other and there are no direct trade ties or diplomatic relations.