Saturday, 3 August 2013
U.S. closes 21 embassies, issues travel alert following “credible” al Qaeda threat
There is no evidence of a threat to any EU presence in the Middle East, a spokesman for the European Commission said Aug. 2... The United States is planning to close several of its embassies in the Middle East on Aug. 4 due to unspecified security concerns, and the EU is taking precautions with its delegations in the region, the spokesman said..."Unusual amounts of chatter" were intercepted, according to U.S. State Department sources, suggesting the possibility of an imminent Al Qaeda attack in the region...The current expectation is an event may occur sometime in August and could include attempts to kidnap U.S. citizens...Among the countries where U.S. diplomatic missions will close are Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh...Issuing public warnings can alert allies and deter militants by seeding doubt in their minds...Closing multiple embassies could indicate a lack of actionable intelligence, or an unspecified fix on attack target, or act as a distraction ploy...After the attacks at Benghazi, the U.S. is hedging by issuing early warnings to avoid being caught off guard again.