cross posted at the demise

The US State Department has shuttered 21 embassies and consulate offices across the Middle East and North Africa including embassies in Iraq, Egypt, Libya, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain and Yemen and consulates in Iraq, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

The State Department took the broad security measures due to it’s uncovering information that suggests that, “al Qaeda and affiliated organizations continue to plan terrorist attacks both in the region and beyond, and that they may focus efforts to conduct attacks in the period between now and the end of August.” The alert further warned that, “terrorists may elect to use a variety of means and weapons and target both official and private interests.” The warning said that the threat was directed at American targets overseas, including US government facilities.

The State Department directive, however, also warned US travelers that al Qaeda terrorists have, in the past, targeted public transport systems including, “subway and rail systems, as well as aviation and maritime services.” The warning stated, “U.S. citizens should take every precaution to be aware of their surroundings and to adopt appropriate safety measures to protect themselves when traveling.”

The broad closure of US diplomatic offices throughout the Middle East and North Africa comes on the heels of The US military’s targeted attacks inside Yemen against, as revealed by the State Department, al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. The air raids were the first that the US military has carried out in several weeks and were reported by Yemeni press outlets to have assassinated five members of AQAP.

Additionally, Israel carried out an airstrike inside of Syria’s borders in early July, and yesterday, an unnamed governmental source told the New York Times that Syria should expect further incursions into their airspace by Israeli war planes that will be carrying out additional bombing runs in that country in the future.