Embassies to Close Sunday Ahead of Reported Al-Qaida Attack

State Department intelligence predicts an attack on Sunday in Middle Eastern, Muslim countries.


The State Department is closing embassies across the Middle East citing f an unspecified terrorism threat.


The State Department announced Thursday it will close a series of embassies and consulates on Sunday for what some believe is the threat of an al-Qaida attack.

CBS News cites an unnamed U.S. intelligence source that is tracking an attack threat against U.S. installations on Aug. 4 in Middle Eastern and other Muslim countries, including in North Africa and South Asia. A real threat exists, the source says, but not in a specific location, which has prompted the closure of the series of facilities.

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State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf provided limited information to reporters at a briefing on Thursday afternoon.

"I'm not going to go into any more detail about specific threat information or security considerations," she said. "I would also point you to the Worldwide Caution that we put out in February of 2013 which speaks to potential terrorist threats in different places around the world to speak to some of the steps we recommend people taking and some things they take into consideration when situations like this arise."

Harf declined to offer specific details on the nature of the threat or which specific facilities would close.

At least 17 embassies are heeding the State Department's warning and are closing on Sunday.

"The department has been apprised of information that, out of an abundance of caution and care for our employees and others who may be visiting our installations, indicates we should institute these precautionary steps," states a warning on the U.S. Embassy of Kuwait website.

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The U.S. Embassy in Cairo included the threats of protest marches on Aug. 2 in addition to the Sunday closure.

"The Department, when conditions warrant, takes steps like this to balance our continued operations with security and safety," it said in a released statement. "However, beyond this announcement we do not discuss specific threat information, security considerations or measures, or other steps we may be taking."

Along with Egypt and Kuwait, closures will affect embassies in Iraq, Qatar, Bahrain, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Jordan, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Algeria, UAE, Yemen, Libya as well as consulates in Saudi Arabia and UAE, according to ABC News. Embassy security has become a priority in U.S. foreign policy circles, following the successful attack on a diplomatic post in Benghazi on Sept. 11, 2012. State Department leadership has asked Congress for billions for security upgrades and to increase the ranks of Diplomatic Security and Marine Corps guard personnel.

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The House Foreign Affairs committee passed a bill Thursday offering $4.83 billion for further embassy security and called on the State Department to work with other federal agencies to smooth out procedures for responding to attacks like Benghazi.

"This legislation provides our diplomats with the tools they need to do their job effectively and as safely as possible," said Rep. Ed Royce, R-Calif., in a written statement on Thursday.

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