WASHINGTON (AP) - The threat which has prompted the U.S. to shutter some diplomatic posts and issue a travel alert is reportedly based on intercepted communications.
The New York Times is reporting that the communications were between senior al-Qaida operatives.
The top U.S. military commander says there is what he calls "a significant threat stream." Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey told ABC News that the threat was "more specific" than previous ones and that potential targets are Western, not just U.S. interests."
The State Department is urging American travelers to take extra precautions overseas. Potential dangers listed include public transportation systems and other prime sites for tourists.
The threat follows this week's White House meeting between President Barack Obama and Yemen's current president, Abdo Rabby Mansour Hadi.
The United States has issued a global travel alert because of an al-Qaida terrorist threat.
The State Department says the potential for terrorism is particularly strong in the Middle East and North Africa. It says an attack could occur or come from the Arabian Peninsula.
The department says in a statement that al-Qaida and its affiliated organizations "continue to plan terrorist attacks both in the region and beyond."
The travel alert comes a day after the U.S. announced that it would shutter its embassies and consulates throughout the Muslim world on Sunday, and possibly longer.
The threat was linked to al-Qaida and focused on the Middle East and Central Asia, said Rep. Ed Royce, R-Calif., chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
State Department officials said Thursday they were acting out of an "abundance of caution."
Spokeswoman Marie Harf cited information indicating a threat to U.S. facilities overseas and said some diplomatic facilities may stay closed for more than a day.
Sunday is a workday in the Muslim world. American diplomatic missions in Europe, Latin America and many other places are closed on Sunday.
Royce said Friday he supported the State Department decision to "protect our personnel on the ground."
The State Department issued a major warning last year informing American diplomatic facilities across the Muslim world about potential violence connected to the anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
Dozens of American installations were besieged by protests over an anti-Islam video made by an American resident. In Benghazi, Libya, the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans were killed when militants assaulted a diplomatic post. The administration no longer says that attack was related to the demonstrations.