Yemen President Details al-Qaeda Phone Call That Sparked US Panic

AQAP Leader Promised Attack to 'Change History'

More information has emerged on the phone call that sparked a US panic that led to global travel warnings and dozens of embassy closures, with Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi providing the most specific disclosures yet.

Hadi says that US officials told him the conversation took place on July 29, and involved comments by al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) leader Nasser al-Wuhayshi, in which he promised an attack “that would change the face of history.”

US officials had previously indicated that the conversation also involved “code words” that convinced them an attack was imminent, though nothing in the conversation gave any idea of where.

“I told the Americans this would be in Yemen,” Hadi insisted. His government later insisted the plot involved seizing towns along the cost, and Hadi says that two cars had seven tons of explosives between them with an eye toward blowing up an oil terminal.

In addition to closing the embassies, the US launched 12 drone strikes, killing 49 people. Last week officials conceded that the strikes did nothing to prevent the threat.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.