An intercepted conference call between al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahiri and his top operatives was prompted the United States to close its Middle East diplomatic missions, according to a report Wednesday.
The Daily Beast, citing US intelligence sources, said more than 20 al-Qaida operatives from across the militant group's global network were on the call.
AFP was not immediately able to confirm the report.
In the call, Zawahiri reportedly named the head of the al-Qaida branch in Yemen, Nasser al-Wuhayshi, as the operational controller of the group's affiliates throughout the Muslim world.
"This was like a meeting of the Legion of Doom," the Daily Beast quoted a U.S. intelligence officer as saying, referring to a coalition of villains in the cartoon "Super Friends."
Taking part in the call were representatives of Nigeria's Boko Haram, the Pakistani Taliban, al-Qaida in Iraq, al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb, and other more obscure affiliates and aspiring affiliates such as al-Qaida in the Sinai Peninsula, the report said.
The United States took the unusual step of closing some 25 diplomatic missions in the Muslim world on Sunday, and then extending the closure for a week at 19 of them, in response to what was said was as a credible and imminent threat of a major al-Qaeda attack.
Earlier news reports had said the warning had come from a US intercept of a conversation between Zawahiri and al-Wuhayshi.
The Daily Beast said that during the conference call the al-Qaida leaders discussed in vague terms plans for a pending attack, and mentioned that a team or teams were already in place.