Could be one of the reasons the CIA has been pummeling AQAP with drone strikes over the last week.

(CNN) — A global travel alert issued Friday by the State Department said al Qaeda may launch attacks in the Middle East, North Africa and beyond in coming weeks, and the U.S. government prepared to close embassies and consulates in the region Sunday as a precaution.

The steps showed the heightened concerns about what U.S. officials said was intelligence in recent days that indicated a potential attack emanating from al Qaeda in Yemen.

Britain’s Foreign Office warned against travel to Yemen and advised British citizens to leave the country, while a senior Yemeni national security official told CNN that the government was “on high alert against possible attacks in the days to come.”

“The threat appears much worse than it has in a long time,” the Yemeni official said.

According to three sources, the United States has information that al Qaeda in Yemen was in the final stages of planning for an unspecified attack.