US embassies that would normally be open this Sunday - including those
in Abu Dhabi, Baghdad, Cairo and Tel Aviv - will be closed that day because of
unspecified security concerns, the US State Department said on Thursday.
News reported that the embassy closings were tied to US intelligence
about an al-Qaida plot against US diplomatic posts in the Middle East
and other Muslim countries. CBS said the intelligence did not mention a
"The Department of State has instructed
certain US embassies and consulates to remain closed or to suspend
operations on Sunday, August 4th," State Department spokeswoman Marie
Harf told reporters at her daily briefing. "Security considerations have
led us to take this precautionary step."
Harf declined to detail
the "security considerations" or name the embassies and consulates that
would be closed but a senior State Department official later told
reporters they were those that would normally have been open on Sunday.
quick search of the State Department website showed that these included
several US missions in the Muslim world, including the embassies in Abu
Dhabi, Baghdad and Cairo.
CBS News said US embassies would also
be closed in Bahrain, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Libya, Oman, Qatar, Saudi
Arabia, Yemen, Afghanistan and Bangladesh.
"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
... indicates we should institute these precautionary steps," Harf said.
"The department, when conditions warrant, takes steps like this to
balance our continued operations with security and safety."