5 Aug 2013

Al-Qaeda alert: US extends embassy closures

The US says it will keep 19 embassies in north Africa and the Middle East closed for up to a week, due to a possible militant threat against western targets in the region.

A Yemeni soldier checks a car close to the US embasssy in Sana'a (pic: Getty)

Twenty-one US embassies and consulates closed on Sunday. The State Department in Washington said the extended closures were “out of an abundance of caution”, and not a reaction to a new threat.

Britain said its embassy in Yemen would stay closed until the Muslim festival of Eid on Thursday.

The UK Foreign Office had earlier announced it would shut its mission in the Yemeni capital Sanaa until Tuesday.

Meanwhile US diplomatic missions in Algiers, Kabul and Baghdad are among those which will reopen on Monday, Washington said.

But its diplomatic posts in Abu Dhabi, Amman, Cairo, Riyadh, Dhahran, Jeddah, Doha, Dubai, Kuwait, Manama, Muscat, Sanaa and Tripoli will remain closed until Saturday.

The US State Department also added African missions in Antananarivo, Bujumbura, Djibouti, Khartoum, Kigali and Port Louis to the list, meaning a total of 19 US embassies will remain closed this week.

On its website, the UK Foreign Office is advising against all travel to Yemen.

It says: “There is a high threat from terrorism throughout Yemen. Terrorists continue to threaten further attacks. There is a very high threat of kidnap from armed tribes, criminals and terrorists.”