Results tagged “United States”
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US politicians and defense and intelligence officials said today that intercepted al Qaeda communications over the past few months have indicated a high threat level. A US media report alleged that the latest precautions were triggered by the interception of an al Qaeda conference call involving representatives of a number of affiliates along with the group's top leadership. President Obama canceled the planned summit in Russia.
The US filed murder charges against Ahmed Abu Khattala, who is linked to Ansar al Sharia, for his role in the murder of US personnel in the 2012 attack on the US Consulate in Benghazi; sealed charges have also been filed against about a dozen others. US officials said the recent flurry of drone strikes in Yemen were an attempt to disrupt an al Qaeda plot, but they are not sure if the strikes have disrupted it. The State Dept. evacuated some diplomatic staff from Yemen and urged US citizens to leave the country. Mike Morrell, the outgoing second in command at the CIA, called Syria the primary security concern for the US, and said more fighters are entering Syria each month to join al Qaeda-linked groups than were entering Iraq at the height of the war with al Qaeda in Iraq.
US officials acknowledged the interception of messages last week from al Qaeda emir Ayman al Zawahiri ordering al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula to attack Western interests as early as Aug. 4. The State Department added Rwanda, Burundi, Madagascar, and Mauritius to the list of countries where US diplomatic missions have been closed due to the al Qaeda threat. The State Dept. is reevaluating a previous assessment that downplayed the degree of Iranian support for terrorist activity in Latin America.
The US has closed at least 25 diplomatic facilities in the Middle East and North Africa in response to a serious "specific and credible" al Qaeda threat; the closures of some facilities have been extended through Aug. 10. The precautions were taken after a recent message between senior al Qaeda leaders was intercepted. The White House offered to engage with the government of new Iranian president Hassan Rouhani on the issue of Iran's nuclear program.
Top US security officials conferred today over an al Qaeda threat reportedly targeting Western diplomatic facilities and interests in the Middle East; the State Deptartment has ordered the temporary closure of 21 embassies and consulates in the Muslim world. A senior security official described the threat as "serious" and said the Pentagon is working with the State Dept. and the intelligence community to deal with it.
The State Department issued a global travel alert for US citizens, based on indications recently received of an al Qaeda threat. The alert warned that the terrorist group or its allies may attack public or private American interests, and may target tourist spots or public transportation systems. The Senate confirmed Gen. Martin Dempsey as head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff for another two-year term.