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Al-Qaeda Threat to Shutter US MidEast Embassies Sunday

In response to a "specific," "credible," and "serious," threat, the U.S. will close most embassies and consulates across the Middle East and parts of Asia this Sunday, Aug. 4
Asst State Dept Spokesman Marie Harf tells press corps on Aug. 1 of embassy closures on Sunday, Aug. 4

Asst State Dept Spokesman Marie Harf tells press corps on Aug. 1 of embassy closures on Sunday, Aug. 4

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The U.S. State Department Spokeswoman Marie Harf gave an initial heads up at the State Department press conference on Thursday afternoon, August 1, that “certain U.S. embassies and consulates to remain closed or to suspend operations on Sunday, August 4.”

It was later disclosed that all U.S. embassies and consulates across the Middle East and in parts of Asia will be closed on Sunday.

The reason for the unprecedented closure is a possible al-Qaeda-related threat to diplomatic posts.

As NBSNews.com noted, Sunday is President Barack Obama’s 52nd birthday, and it’s also the day Iran inaugurates Hassan Rowhani as its new president. But U.S. officials told NBC News they had heard nothing to indicate that the date was chosen for either of those reasons.

ABC news had even more specific information.  Reporters there claimed that a U.S. official had said the closings were due to a credible and serious security threat of the targeting of an “embassy or consulate in a Muslim country.”

“We just don’t know which one,” the official told ABC News.

According to CBSNews.com, as of 7:35 PM ET Thursday, at least 14 embassies had announced that they will close on Sunday in accordance with the State Department’s guidance.  These include the U.S. embassies in Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Libya, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Yemen, Afghanistan and Bangladesh.

“There could be other targets, not just embassies,” another U.S. official said. The threat is considered to be throughout the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia.

U.S. Ambassadors, and not the State Department, usually determine when an embassy will close.  This is an unusual step.

It is possible the diplomatic posts will remain closed past Sunday.

Winning the war on terrorism?  Defeated al-Qaeda?  Doesn’t sound like it.

The Jewish Press will continue to update this story as details become available.

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About the Author: Lori Lowenthal Marcus is the US correspondent for The Jewish Press. She is a recovered lawyer who previously practiced First Amendment law and taught in Philadelphia-area graduate and law schools.


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10 Responses to “Al-Qaeda Threat to Shutter US MidEast Embassies Sunday”

  1. I wish the Jewish Press had press credentials to be at the White House Press gaggle. I can't imagine anyone other than a JP reporter would have the stones to ask the WH Press person whether, in light of this closure of multiple embassies, President Obama still claims to have defeated Al Qaeda. Oh, wait — winning a war is SO old-fashioned! we aren't interested in victory. that's a dirty word. We don't win wars, we just end them, by leaving the battlefield. That'll teach our enemies.

  2. Should we not respond to Al-Qaeda that we will stop supplies of weapons to the Syrian rebels that Al-Qaeda supports if they launch futher attacks against western targets. That ought to about do it for a bit.

  3. H Fragman Abramson says:

    Israel is considered a Muslim country? What's the criteria? And, since it's potentially an attack on American soil, don't they think improving defense and security would send a more important message to terrorists than "shutter and hide"? Perhaps we should all dig holes to stick our heads in as well…

  4. H Fragman Abramson says:

    Israel is considered a Muslim country? What's the criteria? And, since it's potentially an attack on American soil, don't they think improving defense and security would send a more important message to terrorists than "shutter and hide"? Perhaps we should all dig holes to stick our heads in as well…

  5. When did we stop being the most poweful nation in the world. To let a bunch of murderous & cowardly towelheads force us to hide in fear is beyond humiliating.

  6. And Obama has just entertained the Muslim Community to a pre Ramadan state banquet at the White House? What planet is he on?

  7. US has no money to pay embassies and consulates personal lowering hours of work?

  8. Yechiel Baum says:

    Seems the USA is unable to control the security of its own country or Embassies and Consulate so how can the USA be called a world power? Obviously, because the USA has misrepresented the truth about morality and GOD punishes the USA as a result. USA rewards its enemies and punishes its allies.

  9. where in the weak as a string-in-chief going to hide. no doubt he's got a hole picked out.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Islamic extremists, with al Qaeda leading the pack, are waging wars of aggression all around the globe. Islamic imperialists desire world domination and the elimination of all religions other than their perverted version of Islam. They will kill every man, woman and child they can get their filthy hands on. They will murder every Christian, Hindu, Buddhist, Jew, Atheist and even non-radical or different sect Moslem they can in order to frighten the rest of the population into submission. The good people and the decent nations must work together to defeat radical Islam if we want to preserve civilization.

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