US President Barack Obama's nominee for Defense Secretary, Chuck Hagel, apologized for controversial comments he made in 2006 about a "Jewish lobby" in Washington, and clarified his position on Iran and Hezbollah in a letter to Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer, Washington news site Politico reported on Tuesday.

In the letter to Boxer, Hagel apologized for disparaging remarks he made in 2006, saying a "Jewish lobby" in Washington tends to "intimidate" lawmakers. He deemed it as "a very poor choice of words" and said he understands how such words "can be constructed as anti-Israel."

Hagel clarified that he is "overwhelmingly supportive of a strong US-Israel strategic and security relationship," and said he would work to expand the ties between the two countries, Politico reported.

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