State Department issues worldwide travel alert due to al-Qaida threat

WASHINGTON - The State Department has issued a worldwide travel alert because of an al-Qaida threat, according to the Associated Press.

The alert came just hours after officials said the United States would close its embassies and consulates throughout the Muslim world on Sunday after receiving an unspecified threat.

State Department officials said Thursday that the embassy closure was enacted out of an "abundance of caution."

Spokeswoman Marie Harf cited information indicating a threat to U.S. facilities overseas and said some diplomatic facilities may stay closed for more than a day.

Friday, an official not authorized to speak publicly said the threat was "directed at American targets overseas," but may not be confined to main diplomatic facilities.

Other U.S. officials said the threat was in the Muslim world, where Sunday is a workday. American diplomatic missions in Europe, Latin America and many other places are closed on Sunday.

The State Department issued a major warning last year informing American diplomatic facilities across the Muslim world about potential violence connected to the anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.