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April 20, 2021

US reopens some diplomatic missions

Pakistan on alert for possible attack.
The United States is reopening some of its diplomatic missions in the Middle East and North Africa on Monday, while 19 embassies and consulates in the region remain closed due to security concerns, the Voice of America reports.
Embassies in Baghdad, Kabul, Algiers and Dhaka are among the posts the State Department has authorized to open Monday.
American officials closed the missions and issued a global travel alert for American citizens last week, warning of a strong potential for terrorist attacks.
The State Department said Sunday it is keeping the 19 remaining posts closed through Saturday “out of an abundance of caution” and not a new threat. Those missions include sites in Amman, Cairo, Sanaa and Tripoli. The other posts closed all week are those in Abu Dhabi, Riyadh, Dhahran, Jeddah, Doha, Dubai, Kuwait, Manama, Muscat, Antanarivo, Bujumbura, Djibouti, Khartoum, Kigali and Port Louis.
Other sites opening Monday include the U.S. embassy in Nouakchott and consulates in Herat, Mazar el Sharif, Basrah and Irbil. U.S. lawmakers and former high-ranking officials called the decision to close diplomatic missions and to issue the global travel alert an extraordinary move.
Other countries took similar actions, and the international police organization Interpol issued its own security alert.
The U.S. security moves come nearly a year after Islamic militants attacked the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, killing four Americans including the U.S. ambassador.
On the other hand, Pakistan’s capital city of Islamabad is on red alert after officials received information in the form of an intelligence intercept of a likely attack on a high-value target, two senior Pakistani officials told CNN on Sunday.
Helicopters could be heard in the skies above Islamabad as Air Force and Navy commandos searched for suspected militants in the Margalla Hills that surround the city, the officials said.
Key military installations were under tight security. Among the buildings being guarded are the headquarters for Pakistan’s air force and navy, the officials said.
The officials, from the security and intelligence establishments, did not want to be named given the sensitivity of the information.

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