ABU DHABI ø The United States has closed several of its embassies in
the Gulf region after learning of credible terrorist threats.
Three U.S. embassies in the Gulf were closed on Wednesday to prevent
attacks by insurgents or demonstrators. Two of the embassies were reopened
later that day.
The U.S. embassy in the United Arab Emirates was closed after it
received warning of an attack said to have been based on specific
information. Officials said the information received did not include a
threat against the American community in the UAE.
[In Riyad, the U.S. embassy was briefly closed in wake of a false report
of a bombing in the Saudi capital, Middle East Newsline reported. The embassy was reopened that same day.]
"The embassy in Abu Dhabi and consulate in Dubai
have temporarily suspended operation on Wednesday,
March 24, in light of a specific threat to the embassy
in Abu Dhabi," a U.S. embassy statement said.
Officials said the embassy, in cooperation with U.S.
security officials, would review the threat over the
weekend. They said the embassy could be reopened on Saturday.
In Washington, State Department deputy spokesman Adam Ereli said the
embassy in Abu Dhabi was closed "in response to specific and credible threat
information directed at the embassy." Ereli said a man ø later identified
as a Somali national ø was arrested in connection to the threat.
Anti-U.S. unrest was also reported throughout the Gulf region. In
Manama, hundreds of Bahraini teenagers pelted the U.S. embassy with stones,
led to a brief closure of the facility.
"The demonstrators approached but did not actually reach the embassy,
threw rocks at the embassy," Ereli said. "The Bahraini police dispersed the
crowd. Their support was excellent."
In Cairo, Egyptian authorities reinforced security around the U.S. embassy
amid calls for massive demonstrations. The embassy remained opened.
Earlier, the State Department issued an alert for
the Middle East and North Africa, raising the prospect
of an attack against U.S. interests in the region. The
alert said such an attack might be linked with an
Islamic backlash in the aftermath of the Israeli
assassination of Hamas leader Ahmed Yassin.
"The department is also concerned about the
potential for demonstrations and violent actions
against U.S. citizens and interests in the region and
throughout the world in response to his death," the