WASHINGTON (TheBlaze/AP) -- Two officials say a secret message that was intercepted between al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahri and his deputy in Yemen led to the shutdown of U.S. embassies.
The message ordered Nasir al Wuhayshi, the leader of the affiliate in Yemen, to carry out an attack as early as last Sunday, the New York Times reported on Monday.
"The intercepted conversations last week between Ayman al-Zawahri, who succeeded Osama bin Laden as the head of the global terrorist group, and Nasser al-Wuhayshi, the head of the Yemen-based Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, revealed one of the most serious plots against American and other Western interests since the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, American intelligence officials and lawmakers have said," the report adds.
FILE - This file image from video the AP obtained Feb. 12, 2012, from the SITE Intel Group, an American private terrorist threat analysis company, authenticated based on details in it, shows al-Qaida's leader Ayman al-Zawahri in a web posting by al-Qaida's media arm, as-Sahab, calling on Muslims across the Arab world and beyond to support rebels in Syria who are seeking to overthrow President Bashar Assad. Al-Zawahri spoke in a 15-minute Internet audio message posted late Friday, Aug. 2, 2013, his second this week. He condemned the overthrow of Egypt's ousted President Mohammed Morsi, but also blamed Morsi for trying to satisfy America by abandoning jihad. Credit: AP
The alarming terrorist chatter caused the United States to close diplomatic missions in the Middle East and Africa, according to the Times.
Al-Zawahri's message was intercepted several weeks ago and appeared to initially target Yemeni interests, a U.S. intelligence official and a Mideast diplomat told the Associated Press.
The intelligence official also confirmed the message was sent to al Wuhayshi, the head of the terror network's organization, based in Yemen, that is known as al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.
Both officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the sensitive issue publicly.