Threat Level Lowered, U.S. Embassies to Reopen
Eighteen of the nineteen American embassies in the Middle East that were closed last week are to be reopened Sunday and Monday, a State Department spokesperson said. The only one to remain closed with be the U.S. Embassy in Saana, Yemen. The U.S. consulate in Lahore, Pakistan, which was closed Thursday independently of the order to close embassies last weekend, will remain closed as well.
A State Department spokesperson, announcing the reopenings, did not say what circumstances had changed to allow the reopening. The embassies were closed last weekend after security officials announced that they had received “credible threats” of a terror attack by Al Qaeda somewhere in the Middle East.
The embassies included most of those in the Muslim Middle East, including Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and others. The U.S. Embassy and consulates in Tel Aviv were reopened last Monday, after being closed for one day.
On Monday, reports said that U.S. officials had intercepted messages from top Al Qaeda terrorists that a major terror attack on U.S. installations was imminent, to take place last week, during the end of Ramadan. Speaking last week, U.S. President Barack H. Obama said that it was possible that the heightened U.S. awareness of the plot, including the closing of the embassies, had caused Al Qaeda to back down from the attack.
The State Department spokesperson, Jen Psaki, did not say when the embassy in Yemen and the consulate in Lahore would reopen. The U.S. will “continue to evaluate the threats to Sanaa and Lahore and make subsequent decisions about the reopening of those facilities based on that information,” she said in a press conference Friday.