Threat closes US embassies in Muslim world on Sunday

Washington, PTI | Updated : 02 August 2013, 08:23 PM

An unspecified terror threat has prompted the US to direct its embassies and consulates throughout the Muslim world to close on Sunday with the possibility they could remain shut longer. 

"The Department of State has instructed certain US embassies and consulates to remain closed or to suspend operations on Sunday, August 4th," the State Department spokesperson Marie Harf said. 

"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 that indicates we should institute these precautionary steps," she said, without giving further details. 

"The Department, when conditions warrant, takes steps like this to balance our continued operations with security and safety," Harf said, without giving the names of the countries. 

According to a senior State Department official, the US has instructed all US Embassies and Consulates that would have normally been open on Sunday to suspend operations, specifically on August 4th. 

"It is possible we may have additional days of closing as well," the official said adding that the State Department has been apprised of information that indicates the US should institute these precautionary steps. 

"We have taken this measure out of an abundance of caution and care for our employees and others who may be visiting our installations. 

According to NBC News, officials said the threat originated in the Middle East and mentioned al-Qaeda. 

Posts in Afghanistan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Egypt, Iraq, Kuwait, Oman and Qatar have put out messages informing the public that they will be closed on Sunday, which is a workday in many Muslim countries. 

A US official earlier told CNN that the embassy closures were because of "more than the usual chatter" about a potential terrorist threat, which was not specific about time and location. 

Officials said the time frame comes with the approaching end of Ramadan and the one-year anniversary of the terror attack on the US diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, that killed four Americans, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens.

First Published: Friday, August 02, 2013 08:17 PM

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