The United States is "extremely concerned" about violence on the Lebanon-Israel border and urged "maximum restraint" to avoid escalation, State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said on Tuesday.
Crowley said the United States was in touch with both governments to try to get facts behind a cross-border skirmish that killed three Lebanese and an Israeli officer -- the most serious violence along the border since a 2006 war between Israel and Lebanese Hezbollah terrorists.
"We deeply regret the loss of life; we urge both sides to exercise maximum restraint to avoid an escalation and maintain the ceasefire that is now in place," Crowley told reporters at a daily media briefing.
"We are trying to understand what happened ... Our greatest concern is that whatever did happen not be repeated. The region has enough tension as it is. The last thing that we want to see is that this incident expand into something more significant," Crowley said.
He said the United States had been in touch with both governments in Washington and in Israel and Lebanon. He also said there might be a formal meeting, supervised by the United Nations on Wednesday, in the region
The Lebanese and Israeli armies gave different descriptions of the events leading up to the skirmish, while the UN peacekeeping force stationed in southern Lebanon said it had yet to ascertain the circumstances leading to the bloodshed.
"Obviously our greatest concern is whatever did happen not be repeated," Crowley said.
Meanwhile, Lebanon's Supreme Defense Council Secretary General Saeed Eid said after the incident that his country will contend with the Israel's attacks "will all means at our disposal."
Eid said, "Following consultations, the council ordered the country to respond to every aggression against our land, our military, or our civilians with all the means at our disposal."
AFP contributed to the report