<I>The Washington Post</I>: Hizbullah, al Qaeda intensify cooperation
The Lebanon-based Hizbullah group is increasingly teaming up with al Qaeda on logistics and training for future attacks, according to U.S. and European intelligence officials and experts.
The new cooperation is ad hoc and tactical and involves mid- and low-level operatives, reported The Washington Post. It ends years of rivalry between Hizbullah, which draws its support primarily from Shiite Muslims, and al Qaeda, which is predominantly Sunni. It includes coordination on explosives and tactics training, money laundering, weapons smuggling and acquiring forged documents, according to knowledgeable sources quoted by the American daily.
“This new alliance, even if informal, has greatly concerned U.S. officials in Washington and intelligence operatives abroad who believe the assets and organization of Hizbullah's formidable militant wing will enable a hobbled al Qaeda network to increase its ability to launch attacks against American targets,” the report said.
There is little dispute that al Qaeda and Hizbullah operatives work together, but some analysts reject the notion that the two groups have buried their differences, which have long been sharp because they derive their support from the two competing branches of Islam.
"I just don't see it," said Kenneth Katzman, a Middle East specialist at the Congressional Research Service. "There's not a lot of commonality there." (Albawaba.com)
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