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JERUSALEM – The current al-Qaida terrorist plot against U.S. and Western targets is a direct result of U.S.-supported efforts currently underway to purge al-Qaida affiliates from the ranks of the Syrian rebels, according to informed Middle Eastern security sources.

The sources have specific knowledge of the terrorist threat that has prompted a worldwide travel alert and the closure of 22 U.S. embassies.

Those sources said the U.S. has been working with Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and other Gulf states to support a U.S.-armed Free Syria Army effort to cleanse al-Qaida affiliates from among the rebel ranks, including al-Nusra and other groups.

For months now the U.S. has reportedly been providing lethal support to the Syrian rebels amid widespread fears the Western weapons could fall into the hands of al-Qaida organizations known to work alongside the Free Syria Army.

Now with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad closing in on the insurgency targeting his regime, U.S. allies in the Gulf and throughout the Middle East are deeply concerned the freshly armed al-Qaida groups could turn their efforts from Assad to destabilizing the moderate Arab regimes.

To that affect, according to the Middle Eastern security sources, the U.S. has been heavily aiding the Free Syrian Army in its efforts to disarm or eliminate the al-Qaida groups fighting as Syrian rebels.

The Middle Eastern security sources said the current al-Qaida plot is an attempt to dissuade the U.S. from further supporting those disarming efforts.

Yesterday, CNN reported U.S. intelligence agencies believe the specific plot is being coordinated by al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, with chatter among the group increasing in the last few days.

Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., chairman of the Congressional Subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence, told a New York radio station yesterday the terrorist threat is serious and ”very specific.”

“We’re not certain exactly where something might happen but it’s very specific as to when and it’s also very specific as to the fact that it is going to happen, so we have to be on alert everywhere,” King told WINS-AM.

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