What started as an unprecedented move to close almost two dozen diplomatic posts for a day has broadened to week-long closures for most of them as the United States mulls the threat of a possible attack.
A trio of factors prompted officials to extend most of its embassy and consulate closures until Saturday: an intercepted message among senior al Qaeda operatives, the end of Ramadan, and concerns over several major prison breaks in the region.
Originally, officials decided to close 22 embassies and consulates this past Sunday — a day when they would normally be open for business.
But Sunday afternoon, the State Department extended embassy and consulate closures in 15 of the locations through Saturday, and added four other posts — all in Africa — to the list. This brings the total to 19.