A global travel alert was today issued by the U.S. after intelligence was intercepted in Yemen about a possible al-Qaeda terror attack which is due to take place on Sunday – though they have no idea where it might happen.
The government plans to shut its embassies and consulates throughout the Muslim world this weekend as a precaution.State Department officials said Thursday that they were taking action out of an ‘abundance of caution’ after receiving information the terror group was in the final stages of planning for an unspecified attack.
Spokeswoman Marie Harf cited information indicating a threat to U.S. facilities overseas and said some diplomatic facilities may stay closed for more than a day.A source told CNN the preparations appeared to have increased in recent days with the approaching end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.A U.S. official noted it was unclear whether the plot would be directed at a target inside Yemen or elsewhere.
Those officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to speak publicly about the matter.The British embassy in Yemen is to be closed on Sunday and Monday as ‘a precautionary measure’, the Foreign Office confirmed today.The State Department issued a major warning last year informing American diplomatic facilities across the Muslim world about potential violence connected to the anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks.
Dozens of American installations were besieged by protest over an anti-Islam video made by an American resident.In Benghazi, Libya, the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans were killed when militants assaulted a diplomatic post. The administration no longer says that attack was related to the demonstrations.The United States is locking down its embassies and consulates throughout the Muslim world on Sunday after receiving an unspecified threat, officials said.
Quoted by ABC News, one official said the closures were a response to a ‘specific threat against a U.S. embassy or consulate,’ described as a ‘concerted effort’ to target an embassy or consulate in a Muslim country.The official also said that ‘there could be other targets, not just embassies’.According to the news service, 28 U.S. installations will close Sunday, including offices in Egypt, Iraq, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates and Oman.
The threat comes close to a year after four American consulate workers in Libya were killed in a night time arson attack.The State Department issued a major warning last year informing American diplomatic facilities across the Muslim world about potential violence connected to the anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks.Dozens of American installations were besieged by protest over an anti-Islam video made by an American resident.
In Benghazi, Libya, the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans were killed when militants assaulted a diplomatic post.An armed mob attacked and set fire to the consulate building in their protest against the amateur film – deemed offensive to Islam’s prophet, Muhammad – after similar protests in Egypt’s capital.The administration no longer says that attack was related to the demonstrations.The mass closure of U.S. embassies and consulates across the MENA region also comes almost 15 years ago to the day that hundreds of people were killed in simultaneous terrorist attacks, conducted by al-Qaeda, on U.S. embassies in Nairobi, Kenya and Dar es Salaam.
In Dar es Salaam, 10 Tanzanians were killed and more than 85 Americans and Tanzanians were injured. The blast at the U.S. embassy in Nairobi killed at least 212 people and wounded an estimated 4,000.In his recent visit to Africa, U.S. President Barack Obama paid his respects to those who lost their lives in the attacks.In Britain, the Foreign Office said it was not shutting any embassies but has urged its staff in the Middle East and in Arab states to be vigilant.
‘US Embassies in the region have been instructed to close on Sunday August 4. The British Embassies remain open, but staff have been advised to exercise extra vigilance as we approach Eid,’ a spokesman said.‘We are aware of reports and are in close contact with the US authorities. We will consider every Embassy on case by case basis; clearly the safety of our staff overseas is our highest priority.’Our travel advice remains under constant review. We are not going to comment on intelligence matters.’ –