Al Qaeda Threats Shut Down U.S. Embassies in Middle East, Travel Alert Issued

After receiving a terror threat linked to Al Qaeda, the State Department has announced that several U.S. embassies in the Middle East will temporarily close.

The threat, directed at Americans and diplomatic facilities, will result in the closing of 17 embassies, starting this weekend. Embassies in Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Libya, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Yemen, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Mauritania, Sudan and Djibouti will all be closed. A worldwide travel alert has also been issued through August 31, so, uh, do with that what you will.

State Department Spokeswoman Marie Harf said the decision was made "out of an abundance of caution and care" for employees and those visiting the embassies or consulates.

"The Department of State has instructed certain embassies and consulates to remain closed or suspend operations on Sunday...Security considerations have lead us to take this precautionary step," said Harf. Some embassies may be closed longer, she said.

According to CNN, a U.S. official said the threats are "credible and serious." The threat comes near the end of Ramadan, and the one year anniversary of the terror attack at the U.S. embassy in Benghazi, Libya.

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