US posts in Israel to reopen; others remain closed

Embassy in Tel Aviv, missions in Haifa, Jerusalem not included in State Department list of 19 diplomatic posts that will remain closed until August 10

WASHINGTON - The US embassy in Tel Aviv and missions in Jerusalem and Haifa will resume normal activity on Monday, the State Department said on Monday.


However, US diplomatic posts in 19 cities in the Muslim world will be closed at least through the end of this week due to an "abundance of caution."


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State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the decision to keep the embassies and consulates closed is "not an indication of a new threat."


She said the continued closures are "merely an indication of our commitment to exercise caution and take appropriate steps to protect our employees, including local employees, and visitors to our facilities."


Map of US embassies closed due to threat (Photo: AP)
Map of US embassies closed due to threat


Diplomatic facilities will remain closed in Egypt, Jordan, Libya, Yemen, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, among other countries, through Saturday, Aug. 10. The State Department announcement Sunday added closures of four African sites, in Madagascar, Burundi, Rwanda and Mauritius.


The US has also decided to reopen some posts on Monday, including those in Kabul and Baghdad.

The Obama administration announced Friday that the posts would be closed over the weekend and the State Department announced a global travel alert, warning that al-Qaeda or its allies might target either US government or private American interests.


The weekend closure of nearly two dozen US diplomatic posts resulted from the gravest terrorist threat seen in years, the top Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee said Sunday.


Sen. Saxby Chambliss said "the chatter" intercepted by US intelligence agencies led the Obama administration to shutter the embassies and consulates and issue a global travel warning to Americans.


"Chatter means conversation among terrorists about the planning that's going on-- very reminiscent of what we saw pre-9/11," Chambliss told NBC's "Meet the Press."


"This is the most serious threat that I've seen in the last several years," he said.


Rep. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger, the top Democrat on the House of Representatives Intelligence Committee, told ABC's "This Week" that the threat intercepted from "high-level people in al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula" was about a "major attack."


Yemen is home to al-Qaeda's most dangerous affiliate, blamed for several notable terrorist plots on the United States. They include the foiled Christmas Day 2009 effort to bomb an airliner over Detroit and the explosives-laden parcels intercepted the following year aboard cargo flights.


Rep. Peter King, who leads the House Homeland Security subcommittee on counterterrorism and intelligence, said the threat included dates but not locations of possible attacks.


"The threat was specific as to how enormous it was going to be and also that certain dates were given," King said on ABC.


In addition, Interpol, the French-based international policy agency, has issued a global security alert in connection with suspected al-Qaeda involvement in several recent prison escapes including those in Iraq, Libya and Pakistan.


The statement said al-Qaeda or its allies might target either US government or private American interests.



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פרסום ראשון: 08.05.13, 08:00
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