Few details have emerged about the U.S. plan to shut down embassies that would normally be open this Sunday. A senior State Department official says that the U.S. facilities may be closed for more days, as well. The closures are being described as “precautionary steps” that are being taken “out of an abundance of caution.”
The official says the agency “instructed all U.S. Embassies and Consulates that would have normally been open on Sunday to suspend operations, specifically on August 4th,” as The Two-Way reported Thursday.
U.S. diplomatic offices are usually open in Muslim countries, where Sunday is the start of the work week. The closures will take place in nations from the Middle East to Africa and Asia.
According to CBS News, the closures are the result of U.S. intelligence seeing “signs of an al Qaeda plot against American diplomatic posts in the Middle East and other Muslim countries.” A specific location or possible target has not been reported.
Citing two U.S. officials, CNN reports that analysts believe “tensions are rising with the approach of both the holy days at the end of Ramadan and the one year anniversary of the September 11th attack on the US compound in Benghazi.”
The holy month of Ramadan ends on Wednesday, Aug. 7.