U.S. embassies across ‘the Muslim world’ to close on Sunday amid threats of a terrorist attack
- Dozens of U.S. embassies instructed to close on Sunday in the ‘Muslim world’ as a ‘precaution’ following unspecified threats
- One official described threats as a ‘concerted effort’ to target U.S. embassies and consulates
By Helen Collis
PUBLISHED: 08:22 GMT, 2 August 2013 | UPDATED: 09:32 GMT, 2 August 2013
The United States is locking down its embassies and consulates throughout the Muslim world on Sunday after receiving an unspecified threat, officials said.
State Department officials said Thursday that they were taking action out of an ‘abundance of caution’.
Spokeswoman Marie Harf cited information indicating a threat to U.S. facilities overseas and said some diplomatic offices may stay closed for more than a day.
The U.S. State Department, based at the White House, Washington (pictured), has instructed its embassies and consulates in the Muslim word that would normally be open on Sunday to close this weekend amid reports of an unspecified threat
‘Security considerations have led us to take this precautionary step,’ she told reporters.
Other U.S. officials said the threat was in the Muslim world – in the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia – where Sunday is a working day. American diplomatic missions in Europe, Latin America and many other places are closed on Sunday.
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Those officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to speak publicly about the matter.
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 U.S. Embassy in Amman (pictured), the capital of Jordan, is among those which will close from Sunday as a ‘precaution’ following a reported terrorist threat
In Kabul, Afghanistan, where thousands of U.S. troops remain stationed, the U.S. Embassy (pictured) will also be closed this Sunday
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.
President Barack Obama, pictured at the White House in January, paid his respects earlier this month to victims in Tanzania of the 1998 orchestrated terrorist attacks against several US embassies across the African continent
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.
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