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U.S. Embassy in Cairo closed due to Egyptians’ protests

The U.S. Embassy in Cairo has extended its temporary closure through Tuesday because of anti-government demonstrations in Egypt's capital, officials said Monday on the embassy's Facebook page.

"As a matter of general practice, U.S. citizens should avoid areas where large gatherings may occur. Even demonstrations or events intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and possibly escalated into violence," the message said. "U.S. citizens in Egypt are urged to monitor local news reports and to plan their activities accordingly."

A message last week on the embassy's American Citizen Services page warned citizens to "possess the necessary items should it be necessary to remain at home for an extended period."

An American teacher — Andrew Pochter, 21 — was stabbed by a protester while watching demonstrations Friday in Alexandria.

About 200 U.S. Marines based in southern Europe were put on alert to deploy to Egypt in case violence breaks out against the U.S. Embassy, personnel or citizens, and another 2,000 Marines based on three warships in the Red Sea also were put on alert, CNN reported Friday.

Egypt's military on Monday issued a statement calling for the government to meet the protesters' demands within 48 hours.

Pentagon press secretary George Little said U.S. defense officials are reviewing that statement.

"We're not entirely sure what's going to happen one way or the other in the next 48 hours. I wouldn't engage in any kind of speculation, but I would say we are supportive, as the president has said, of the democratic transition in Egypt, and this process requires compromise on everyone's part, and we hope that all Egyptians find a way to work peacefully to address the issues that the country is facing," Mr. Little said.

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