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Threat closes U.S. embassies

WASHINGTON (AP) — The United States is closing its embassies and consulates throughout the Muslim world on Sunday after receiving an unspecified threat, officials said.

The threat was linked to al-Qaida and focused on the Middle East and Central Asia, said Rep. Ed Royce, R-Calif., chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

State Department officials said Thursday they were acting out of an “abundance of caution.”

Spokeswoman Marie Harf cited information indicating a threat to U.S. facilities overseas and said some diplomatic facilities may stay closed for more than a day.

Sunday is a workday in the Muslim world. American diplomatic missions in Europe, Latin America and many other places are closed on Sunday.

Royce said Friday he supported the State Department decision to “protect our personnel on the ground.”

The State Department issued a major warning last year informing American diplomatic facilities across the Muslim world about potential violence connected to the anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Dozens of American installations were besieged by protests over an anti-Islam video made by an American resident.

In Benghazi, Libya, the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans were killed when militants assaulted a diplomatic post. The administration no longer says that attack was related to the demonstrations.

Egypt imposes seige over protest

CAIRO (AP) — Egypt's state television says security authorities will impose a siege over the protest camps of deposed President Mohammed Morsi's supporters, a step before clearing them.

A state TV broadcast Friday said the siege at two Cairo sit-in sites will begin within 48 hours. It said authorities will let people leave, but not allow anyone else in.

Meanwhile, a spokesman of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood, Gehad el-Haddad, denounced U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry's remarks depicting military's overthrow of Morsi as "restoring democracy."

El-Haddad said in a statement: "Does Secretary Kerry accept Defense Secretary (Chuck) Hagel to step in and remove (US President Barak) Obama if large protests take place in America?"

Egypt's military overthrew Morsi on July 3, following days of demonstrations against him and the rule of his Muslim Brotherhood.


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