U.S. shuts embassies in Israel, elsewhere Aug. 4

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Israel is among a number of Middle Eastern and Muslim nations where the United States plans to shut its embassies on Aug. 4 in the face of a terrorist threat.

“The Department of State has instructed certain U.S. Embassies and Consulates to remain closed or to suspend operations on Sunday, August 4,” said a notice that was sent to U.S. citizens in Israel. “The Department has been apprised of information that, out of an abundance of caution and care for our employees and others who may be visiting our installations, indicates we should institute these precautionary steps. It is possible we may have additional days of closings as well, depending on our analysis.”

NBC quoted unnamed “U.S. officials” as saying that the threat was al-Qaida related.

Reports on Twitter said similar messages had gone out to Americans in Afghanistan, Qatar, Egypt and Jordan, and NBC also listed Bangladesh, Bahrain, Iraq, Kuwait, Oman and Qatar.

The email message did not specify the threat, but linked to a February posting on the State Department’s website that lists al Qaida and Hezbollah as potential threats to Americans in the region.