Some U.S. Embassies to Remain Closed Through Saturday

August 5, 2013  

The U.S. State Department announced on Sunday that it will extend the closure of 19 embassies and consulates in the Middle East through Saturday, including a small number of additional posts, according to the Associated Press.

A press release on the department’s website said the closures were out of an “abundance of caution” and not an “indication of a new threat.”

The posts that will be closed through Saturday include Abu Dhabi, Amman, Cairo, Riyadh, Dhahran, Jeddah, Doha, Dubai, Kuwait, Manama, Muscat, Sanaa, Tripoli, Antanarivo, Bujumbura, Djibouti, Khartoum, Kigali, and Port Louis, reported AP.

Other posts will be allowed to reopen as normal on Monday, including ones in Dhaka, Algiers, Nouakchott, Kabul, Herat, Mazar el Sharif, Baghdad, Basrah, and Erbil.

Security was tight at U.S. missions around the Arab world Sunday as Washington held urgent talks on an Al-Qaeda threat that prompted it to close two dozen embassies and consulates.   

Measures were particularly strict in the Yemeni capital where Britain, France and Germany all closed their embassies too following the U.S. warning that lawmakers in Washington said involved Al-Qaeda’s Yemen and Saudi Arabia branch, Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).

A travel alert issued Friday and effective until the end of the month, warned U.S. citizens that al-Qaeda and affiliated groups continue to plan terrorist attacks particularly in the Middle East and North Africa.

Meanwhile, international police agency Interpol issued a global security alert on Saturday advising increased vigilance after a series of prison breaks with suspected al-Qaeda involvement in countries including Iraq, Pakistan and Libya.

Rep. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger, D-Md., told ABC’s This Week on Sunday that the threat intercepted from “high-level people in al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula” was about a “major attack.”

“The threat was specific as to how enormous it was going to be and also that certain dates were given,” Rep. Pete King, R-N.Y., who chairs a House panel on counterterrorism and intelligence, told ABC.

On Saturday, top U.S. security advisers including FBI, CIA and National Security Agency directors, Secretary of State John Kerry, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel and Gen. Martin Dempsey — the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff — met to review the threat.

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