The State Department has issued a stern global travel alert amid threats of terrorist attacks by Al-Qaeda and its affiliated organizations. It said that terrorist attacks are most likely to take place in the Arabian Peninsula, Middle East and North Africa. The State Department said in a statement that terrorists may carry out attacks anytime between now and August 31.
The U.S. government has announced to keep its embassies and consulates in Middle East and many other Asian countries amid possible threats from Al-Qaeda or its related terror groups, reports M. Alex Johnson of NBC News. A State Department official, who spoke on condition of anonymity as it’s a sensitive matter, told Nicole Gaouette of Bloomberg that only embassies that are usually open on Sunday will be affected by the decision. That includes primarily Muslim countries in Middle East and certain parts of Asia where the work week runs from Sunday to Thursday.
U.S. overseas diplomatic posts at risk
The State Department officials said that terror threats originated in the Middle East, and they appear to have roots to Al-Qaeda. They said the security concerns were about overseas diplomatic posts. That includes embassies in Israel, Iraq, Egypt, UAE, Bahrain, Jordan, Oman, Qatar, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Libya, Afghanistan and Bangladesh. A State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said that the announcement is a “precautionary measure” for the safety of employees and people visiting U.S. embassies. She added that the government could extend closing depending on the latest information and analysis.
Terrorists took hostages to stop drone strikes
It’s not the fist time U.S. State Department has issued a warning. A similar warning was issued on September 11, 2012. In February 2013, U.S. issued a “Worldwide Caution”, telling U.S. citizens that Al-Qaeda and its affiliated terror groups were planning attacks in multiple regions of the United States.
The U.S. announcement comes as terror outfits in Pakistan, Libya and Iraq freed up hundreds of prisoners. Bloomberg says that recently obtained 2011 documents suggest that terrorists had taken hostages in an attempt to stop drone strikes. Terrorist groups argued that kidnappings would put further pressure on the U.S. against drones. Consistent U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan have irked the relationship between the two countries. John Kerry, the U.S. Secretary of State, recently said that drone strikes would end soon.