U.S. Issues Global Travel Alert Over Al Qaeda Terror Threat

The Eastern Iowa Airport near Cedar Rapids, Iowa, aerial photo looking west with runway construction work on left side and Wright Brothers Boulevard lower right side, 6/23/2006.

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By Richard Pratt

WASHINGTON — The State Department has issued a global travel warning to all U.S. citizens around the world, with a focus on the Middle East and North Africa that extends until the end of the month.

The warning, which follows Thursday's announcement of the closings of embassies across the Muslim world on Sunday August 4, urges U.S. citizens to be alert to "the continued potential for terrorist attacks, particularly in the Middle East and North Africa, and possibly occurring in or emanating from the Arabian Peninsula."

The statement identifies al Qaeda as a specific threat.

"Current information suggests that al Qaeda and affiliated organizations continue to plan terrorist attacks both in the region and beyond, and that they may focus efforts to conduct attacks in the period between now and the end of August."

The State Department warns that "terrorists may elect to use a variety of means and weapons and target both official and private interests," and reminds U.S. citizens of potential targets such as public transportation and tourist sites, and to take precautions.

"Terrorists have targeted and attacked subway and rail systems, as well as aviation and maritime services," according to the statement.

The U.S. will continue to work closely with international partners to counter ongoing terrorism threats, agency officials said.

"We continue to work closely with other nations on the threat from international terrorism, including from al Qaeda. Information is routinely shared between the U.S. and our key partners in order to disrupt terrorist plotting, identify and take action against potential operatives, and strengthen our defenses against potential threats."

The State Department also confirmed that 21 embassies and consulates that would normally be open will be closed on Sunday, including offices at some of America's biggest embassies and closest allies in the Muslim world in Egypt, Baghdad, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Yemen.

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