Thursday, August 1, 2013

US to temporarily shut down embassies around the world Sunday amid security concerns

The United States will temporarily shut down its embassies and consulates around the world Sunday, including those in Iraq, Afghanistan and Egypt, as a precautionary measure, the State Department said Thursday.
State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf did not say how long the international installations would stay closed -- only that the decision was taken “out of an abundance of caution and care for our employees and others who may be visiting.”
Sunday is a normal workday in many Arab and Middle Eastern countries. Embassies in Europe and Latin America would be shuttered that day anyway.
“We have instructed all U.S. embassies and consulates that would have normally been open on Sunday to suspend operations, specifically on August 4,” a senior State Department official said Thursday night. “It is possible we may have additional days of closing as well.”
The issue of security abroad has been prominent in Congress since attacks on U.S. diplomatic outposts in Egypt and Libya.

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