The current terror alert which has prompted the closure of several US embassies is due to intercepted conversations between two senior al-Qaeda figures.
According to US media sources the man who replaced Osama bin Laden as head of al-Qaeda, Ayman al-Zawahri was electronically picked up ordering the leader of al-Qaeda’s affiliate in Yemen to carry out an unspecified but imminent attack.
On Tuesday, the United States told its citizens in Yemen on Tuesday to leave the country immediately because of what is said was the continued potential for terrorist attacks. A wider travel warning for Americans has also been issued.
It also ordered non-emergency US government staff to leave the Arab state, according to a statement posted on the US State Department’s website.
White House spokesman Jay Carney refused to divulge further details:
“I’m not in a position to discuss specific intelligence but we believe this threat is significant and we are taking it seriously for that reason and are taking the actions that the State Department has announced out of an abundance of caution.”
In the absence of any mention of a target, 19 US diplomatic missions are remaining closed in the Middle East and North Africa for the rest of this week along with several European embassies.