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ATLANTA -- Several major U.S. banks, including Atlanta-based SunTrust Banks Inc., want the U.S. government's assistance in blocking ongoing cyberattacks by Iranian hackers, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The banks argue that they have spent millions warding off the attacks and that they can't be expected to fend off such attacks from another government.

Other banks that have urged the U.S. to act include PNC Financial Services Group Inc. (NYSE: PNC) and BB&T Corp. (NYSE: BBT).

Some analysts tell the Wall Street Journal that the request form on the banks illustrates the severity of the threat.

BB&T has said previously that the attacks have created high volumes of traffic and intermittent disruptions on its online banking sites, but that accounts and customer information had not been affected.

SunTrust will report its fourth-quarter and annual earnings early Jan. 18.

(Written by Amy Dominello Braun)