U.S. extends embassy closures

The U.S. has closed 19 embassies and consulates in North Africa and the Middle East and said it will keep them closed until Saturday, over fears of a possible militant attack.

The State Department has also put troops on a heightened state of alert and issued a travel alert for all U.S. citizens.

Republican senator Saxby Chamblis said the moves were ordered in response to 'the most serious threat in several years'.

"There has been an awful lot of [terrorist] chatter, which is very reminiscent of what we saw pre-9/11," he said on NBC's Meet the Press. "As we come to the end of Ramadan, which is always an interesting time for terrorists, and the upcoming 9/11 anniversary, this is the most serious threat that I have seen in the last several years."

The State Department said the closures were "out of an abundance of caution" and "not an indication of a new threat".

"Posts in Abu Dhabi, Amman, Cairo, Riyadh, Dhahran, Jeddah, Doha, Dubai, Kuwait, Manama, Muscat, Sanaa, Tripoli, Antananarivo, Bujumbura, Djibouti, Khartoum, Kigali, and Port Louis are instructed to close for normal operations Monday, August 5 through Saturday, August 10," it said.

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