- The Washington Times - Friday, August 2, 2013

Citing a potential al Qaeda attack, the State Department on Friday issued a worldwide travel alert and warned American citizens that the terrorist group may be plotting a strike in the Middle East, North Africa or elsewhere.

“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,” reads a portion of the alert, which lasts until the end of the month.

“Terrorists may elect to use a variety of means and weapons to target both official and private interests. U.S. citizens are reminded of the potential for terrorists to attack public transportation systems and rail systems, as well as aviation and maritime services. U.S. citizens should take every precaution to be aware of their surroundings and to adopt appropriate safety measures to protect themselves when traveling.”

The State Department also is recommending that citizens register any travel plans with the federal government.

The alert comes just one day after the Obama administration announced that the U.S. will temporarily shutter its embassies in Egypt, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Libya, Iraq, Kuwait and elsewhere.

Administration officials reportedly have received a credible terror threat directed at American targets overseas, though details remain sketchy.

SEE ALSO: U.S. embassies in Muslim countries to close amid ‘specific threat’

Congressional leaders have been briefed on the threat.

Speaking on CNN on Friday, Rep. Ed Royce, California Republican, confirmed that the same al Qaeda threat that led to the planned embassy closings also drove the State Department’s alert.

“It’s my understanding that it is al Qaeda linked, all right, and the threat emanates in the Middle East and in Central Asia,” said Mr. Royce, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

• Ben Wolfgang can be reached at bwolfgang@washingtontimes.com.

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