US Embassies In Muslim Countries To Remain Closed

Following the announcement that many US embassies in the Muslim world would close on Sunday, the State Department said that posts in 19 countries will remain closed at least through the end of the week.

According to the statement, the decision is made out of an abundance of caution, due to an unspecified Al-Qaeda threat received by US intelligence.

In the statement, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki says that the extension of the closures is not due to additional threats.

She added that the US response to the threats is an exercise in caution and an effort to take appropriate steps to protect employees, including local employees, and visitors to the American facilities overseas.

Diplomatic facilities will remain closed in Egypt, Jordan, Libya, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait, among other countries, at least through Saturday, August 10.

The State Department added four African sites, Madagascar, Burundi, Rwanda, and Mauritius.

At the same time, the State Department announced the reopening of the embassies in Kabul, Afghanistan and Baghdad, Iraq.

The US embassies were closed in response to unspecified threats made by Al Qaeda. The State Department also issued a worldwide travel alert because of the same threat.

The Obama administration issued a warning that Al Qaeda or its allies might target either the US government or private American interests and that an attack might occur or originate in the Arabian Peninsula.

Senator Saxby Chambliss of the Senate Intelligence Committee said that the chatter intercepted by US intelligence is the most serious he has seen in many years.

Chatter means conversations between terrorists about planned attacks similar to those seen in the pre-9/11 days.

Representative Dutch Ruppersberger of Maryland, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, told ABC’s This Week that the threat intercepted from high-level people in Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula was about a “major attack”.

Last year the US embassy in Benghazi was attacked resulting in the death of Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three others.

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