US issues global travel alert, cites al-Qaida threat

The United States issued a worldwide travel alert on Friday warning Americans that al-Qaida may be planning attacks in August in the Middle East and northern Africa.

The state department travel alert was based on the same intelligence information that prompted it to close 21 US embassies or consulates this Sunday, a US official told Reuters on condition of anonymity.

“The department of state alerts US citizens 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,” its statement said.

On Thursday, the department said US embassies that would normally be open this Sunday would be closed that day because of unspecified security concerns.

On Friday, it released a list of the 21 diplomatic missions, including those in Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Libya, Yemen and Sudan, among other countries.