After the death of Osama bin Laden earlier this year, the man who took his place as al Qaeda’s chief, Ayman al-Zawahiri, vowed to avenge bin Laden’s death with an attack on the US.

Now, intelligence officials believe at least three people entered the country in August with the intent of launching a vehicle-borne attack against Washington, DC or New York around the time of the anniversary of 9/11.

Although the names of the individuals are not yet known, at least one is thought to be an American citizen, and officials believe the suspects traveled to the US from the tribal areas of Pakistan.

At a Thursday evening press conference, Janice Fedarcyk, FBI Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the New York Office, said, “Al Qaeda has shown an interest in important dates and anniversaries. In this instance it is accurate that there is credible, specific but unconfirmed information.”

New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg, who said the NYPD was already on alert because of the upcoming anniversary, added, “We do live in a world where we must take these threats seriously and we certainly will.”

A bulletin sent to 18,000 law enforcement agencies around the country by the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security noted al Qaeda might see 9/11 as a high-profile date on which to seek revenge for the death of bin Laden and other al Qaeda figures.

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[ABC News]