US embassies and consulates across the Middle East and Asia will be closed on Sunday due to an al-Qaeda-related terror threat, officials said Thursday.
The US 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, that indicates we should institute these precautionary steps,” said State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf.
The United States and Britain shut down their embassies in Yemen on Sunday citing potential but unspecified threats from the al-Qaeda branch linked to the plot to bomb an American airliner on Christmas Day.
The closings came as both nations signaled they would play a more active role in combating terrorism and Islamic radicalization in Yemen. The United States announced it would dramatically step up aid, more than doubling its counterterrorism assistance to Yemen this year.
The embassy shutdowns were the latest indication of a growing confrontation between Western powers and the once little known al-Qaeda in Arabian Peninsula, who claimed responsibility for training and equipping Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the 23-year-old Nigerian who tried to blow up a Detroit-bound Northwest with chemical explosives sewn into his underwear.