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Al Qaeda leaders' communication led to U.S. embassies closure: NY Times

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Intercepted communications in which al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri ordered the leader of the affiliate in Yemen to carry out an attack as early as last Sunday prompted the United States to close diplomatic missions in the Middle East and Africa, the New York Times reported on Monday.

The intercepted conversations were between Zawahri, who succeeded Osama bin Laden as head of al Qaeda, and Nasser al-Wuhayshi, the head of the Yemen-based al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, the newspaper said, citing American officials.

The Times said it had initially withheld the identities of the al Qaeda leaders at the request of senior U.S. intelligence officials, but reported them after the names were disclosed Sunday by McClatchy Newspapers.

(Reporting by Tabassum Zakaria)

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