The United States government has announced that the U.S. outposts throughout Muslim countries in North Africa and the Middle East will remain closed at least through Saturday, the end of the Muslim holiday Eid, which follows Ramadan, and possibly longer.
The State Department based the continued closures on several factors: the interception of an Al Qaeda message; the end of Ramadan and a series of major prison breaks in Iraq, Libya and Pakistan over the past several weeks which released many Al Qaeda operatives.
While U.S. government buildings in several of the countries that had been closed on Sunday are now open, 15 will remain closed and government buildings in four additional countries – all in Africa – will also be closed at least through Saturday.
The intercepted Al Qaeda message appears to relate to the final stages planning of an attack by the Yemen-based Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, according to CNN.
“Al Qaeda is in many ways stronger than it was before 9/11, because it’s mutated and it spread and it can come at us from different directions,” U.S. Representative Peter King, a Republican, said on ABC’s “This Week.”
“And al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula is probably the most deadly of all the al Qaeda affiliates,” he said.
“This is the most specific and credible threat I’ve seen since 9/11,” House Homeland Security Chairman Mike McCaul, R-Texas, said Sunday on “Face the Nation.”
The 19 U.S. government buildings which will remain closed at least through Saturday are:
U.S. Embassy Manama, Bahrain
U.S. Embassy Bujumbura, Burundi*
U.S. Embassy Djibouti, Djibouti
U.S. Embassy Amman, Jordan
U.S. Embassy Cairo, Egypt
U.S. Embassy Kuwait City, Kuwait
U.S. Embassy Tripoli, Libya
U.S. Embassy Antananarivo, Madagascar*
U.S. Embassy Port Louis, Mauritius*
U.S. Embassy Muscat, Oman
U.S. Embassy Doha, Qatar
U.S. Embassy Kigali, Rwanda*
U.S. Consulate Dhahran, Saudi Arabia
U.S. Consulate Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
U.S. Embassy Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
U.S. Embassy Khartoum, Sudan
U.S. Embassy Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
U.S. Consulate Dubai, United Arab Emirates
U.S. Embassy Sanaa, Yemen
The asterisks indicate the four U.S. embassies which were added to the closure list on Sunday. Government buildings which were closed on Sunday but which have been taken off the list include ones in Kabul, Algiers and Baghdad.
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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