WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama says the main al-Qaida terrorist group is ‘‘on its heels’’ and ‘‘decimated,’’ but its regional groups are powerful enough to attack U.S. interests.
Obama says the core of al-Qaida is less able to carry out a terrorist attack on the scale of 9/11. But he says offshoots like the one in Yemen have the capacity to go after U.S. embassies and businesses around the world.
It was the threat of such an attack that prompted the U.S. government to close 19 diplomatic posts in the Middle East and North Africa last week.
U.S. intelligence officials had intercepted a message between a top al-Qaida official and his deputy in Yemen about plans for a major terror attack targeting American or other Western sites abroad.