Middle East/North Africa

Terror threat leads State to extend 19 embassy closings

The State Department announced late Sunday it would extend the closures of
19 foreign embassies across the Middle East and Northern Africa
through next Saturday, as the terror threat across the region remained
high through the final days of Ramadan. 

{mosads}“Given that a number of our embassies and consulates were going to be
closed in accordance with local custom and practice for the bulk of
the week for the Eid celebration at the end of Ramadan, and out of an
abundance of caution, we’ve decided to extend the closure of several
embassies and consulates including a small number of additional
posts,” State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki said in a statement.

Psaki said the precautionary measures were not due to “a new threat
stream,” but “was merely an indication of our commitment to exercise
caution and take appropriate steps to protect our employees including
local employees and visitors to our facilities.”

A handful of foreign posts that were closed on Sunday were not
included in the State Department extension, and were scheduled to
reopen as scheduled on Monday.

The State Department closed more than 20 diplomatic posts and issue a
worldwide travel alert after government officials said they
intercepted al Qaeda chatter that indicated a specific and imminent
terror threat.

In addition to the surveillance intelligence, government officials
cited the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, warnings from
Yemeni officials, online video threats from al Qaeda leader Ayman
al-Zawahiri, and jail breaks at outposts in the Middle East as reasons
for concern.


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