Al-Qaida threat in Middle East ‘most serious in years’, says U.S. lawmaker
The United States extended the closures of some embassies and consulates in the Middle East – which had been closed Sunday due to an Al-Qaida threat – through Aug. 10 due to “caution” but not the emergence of a “new threat stream,” the State Department said.
The expansion through to next Saturday in some cases also was in keeping with local custom during the Eid celebrations of the final week of Ramadan, which had already been planned before the terrorist warnings, the State Department sai
Other U.S. diplomatic posts, including in Kabul, Baghdad and Algiers, that had been closed on Sunday, will reopen on Monday, the State Department said.
Posts in Abu Dhabi, Amman, Cairo, Riyadh, Dhahran, Jeddah, Doha, Dubai, Kuwait, Manama, Muscat, Sanaa, Tripoli, Antanarivo, Bujumbura, Djibouti, Khartoum, Kigali, and Port Louis will be closed through Saturday.
U.S. diplomatic posts in Dhaka, Algiers, Nouakchott, Kabul, Herat, Mazar el Sharif, Baghdad, Basrah, and Erbil will open on Monday, the State Department said.
The Al-Qaida threat that closed U.S. embassies in the Middle East on Sunday is the most serious in years and the “chatter” among suspected terrorists is reminiscent of what preceded the Sept. 11 attacks, a U.S. lawmaker who is briefed on intelligence said.
“There is an awful lot of chatter out there,” Senator Saxby Chambliss, the top Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee, said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
He said “chatter” – electronically monitored communications among terrorism suspects about the planning of a possible attack – was “very reminiscent of what we saw pre-9/11.”
The threat also has prompted some European countries to close their embassies in Yemen, where an Al-Qaida affiliate, Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, is based. “This is the most serious threat that I’ve seen in the last several years,” Chambliss said.