Senior U.S. official: al Qaeda planning ‘big,’ ‘strategically significant’ attack

Senior U.S. official: al Qaeda planning ‘big,’ ‘strategically significant’ attack

On the day that almost two dozen U.S. embassies and consulates across North Africa and the Middle East are closed following the identification of a significant threat from an al-Qaeda affiliate, a senior U.S. official is providing new details about the communications intercepted from the terrorists, telling ABC News that al-Qaeda operatives could be heard talking about an upcoming attack. The official described the terrorists as saying the planned attack is “going to be big” and “strategically significant.”

“The part that is alarming is the confidence they showed while communicating and the air of certainty,” the official said, adding that the group — Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula — appeared to have a media plan for after the attack.

Authorities do not know the exact target of the planned attack, according to the official.

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