By Barbara Starr
American special forces units overseas have been on alert for the past several days for a mission to attack potential al Qaeda targets if those behind the most recent terror threats against U.S. interests can be identified, a senior Obama administration official told CNN.
The official declined to identify the units or their locations because of the sensitive nature of the information.
The units, along with several others, were put on heightened alert by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel last week.
The United States closed embassies and consulates across an area of Africa and the Middle East and imposed a global travel alert for Americans following threats against U.S. interests described as serious and credible.
An intercepted message among senior al Qaeda operatives in the last several days raised concerns that led to the closures, CNN has learned.
Three sources said the United States has information that members of the Yemen-based al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula are in the final stages of planning an unspecified attack.