Spy Chief: Hezbollah May Be Increasing Planning Against The United States

Washington (AP) -- Al-Qaeda remains the biggest threat to the nation's security, but the President's intelligence chief says Hezbollah is a growing danger.

National Intelligence Director John Negroponte says Hezbollah gained confidence through its 34-day war with Israel last summer. It also built a hostility toward the US, he says, that "could cause the group to increase its contingency planning against US interests."

Negroponte's assessment comes in written testimony to the Senate Intelligence Committee. Since 9/11, intelligence agencies have stressed the threat from Al-Qaeda and associated Sunni extremists, rather than Shiite Muslim groups such as Hezbollah.

Hezbollah is backed by Iran and Syria. It was responsible for the 1983 bombings of the US Embassy and Marine barracks in Beirut, Lebanon. But it has not directly attacked US targets in years.

Copyright 2007 by the Associated Press. All rights reserved.


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