WASHINGTON — The State Department on Friday issued a travel alert for U.S. citizens about possible terrorist attacks in the Middle East and North Africa by al Qaeda and affiliated organizations.
“Terrorists may elect to use a variety of means and weapons and target both official and private interests,” said the alert, which came after officials said U.S. embassies in Egypt and some other Middle Eastern countries would be closed Sunday as a precaution.
Al Qaeda is linked to a terror threat that prompted the embassy closings, U.S. Rep. Ed Royce told CNN’s “New Day” on Friday.
“It’s my understanding that it is al Qaeda-linked, all right, and the threat emanates in the Middle East and in Central Asia,” said Royce, a California Republican who’s chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
On Thursday, a U.S. official not authorized to speak publicly about the matter called the threat “credible and serious.”
It was “directed at American targets overseas,” but may not be confined to main diplomatic facilities, the official said.
A senior State Department official said that the agency has told those embassies to close Sunday, normally the beginning of the work week, and that additional days could be added.
The U.S. Embassy in Israel also will be closed as normal on Sunday.
Diplomatic facilities in the region are for the most part closed or operate with minimal staff on Fridays and Saturdays.
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