Several U.S. Embassies to Close this Sunday after ‘Serious’ Al Qaeda Threat

Mike O'Brien

The State Department is closing scores of U.S. embassies in the Middle East on Sunday after receiving a "credible and serious" terror threat from al Qaeda.

A leading U.S. official, who was not authorized to speak publicly about the matter, said the threat was "directed at American targets overseas," but may not necessarily be confined to main diplomatic facilities.

As a precaution, embassies will be closed in Egypt, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Libya, Iraq, Kuwait, Bahrain, Jordan, Oman, Qatar, Yemen, Afghanistan and Bangladesh.

U.S. Rep. Ed Royce, a California Republican who's chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, told CNN: "It's my understanding that it is al Qaeda-linked, all right, and the threat emanates in the Middle East and in Central Asia."

The closures may be extended beyond Sunday, according to a senior State Department official.

He added that the closures were because of "more than the usual chatter" about a potential terrorist threat, which was not specific about time and location.

The threat comes with the approaching end of Ramadan and the first anniversary of the terror attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, that killed four Americans, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens.