As we go on the air, american embassies across the muslim world are within hours of shutting down in response to that new terror threat from al qaeda. Meanwhile what started as an overseas concern has... See More
As we go on the air, american embassies across the muslim world are within hours of shutting down in response to that new terror threat from al qaeda. Meanwhile what started as an overseas concern has now very much become a domestic one as well. Tonight abc news has learned the department of homeland security is beefing up its presence at airports and train stations and intensifying scrutiny of visitors coming from overseas. The state department issued extraordinary month-long worldwide travel alert for americans particularly in the middle east and africa and then there are those 22 u.S. Embassies and diplomatic missions normally opened sunday, which is a business day in the muslim world, now about to shut down. Our coverage begin was abc's nick schifrin in cairo, egypt, nick. Reporter: Good evening, dan, the threats are alarming, the reaction unprecedented. Tonight, we have new details on why every single embassy and u.S. Consulate across the arab world is closed, and surrounded by additional security, including here in cairo. Tonight, u.S. Officials say the threat to americans is serious and credible. According to a senior official, the u.S. Intercepted al qaeda messages about attacking u.S. Interests, including embassies and consulates. It's quote, "very active," plot by these fighters, al qaeda in the arabian peninsula. Their leader, this man, naser al wuhayshi, now in charge of plotting al qaeda's worldwide attacks. In 2001, he was osama bin laden's personal secretary. The u.S. Had been tracking his chatter, but in recent days, one official said, "a lot started blinking red." So now, look at the map, u.S. Embassies shut across 7,000 miles. Right in the middle, egypt. Here in cairo, this is as close as you can get to the embassy. Which is a good five-minute walk behind these concrete bricks and behind these brick, two egyptian military armoured personnel carriers, just in case. A new travel alert warns americans all over the world. That reasons 27-year-old ashley brandenburg is taking small precautions. For me I don't go near the embassy, I don't go downtown, a void protests or demonstrations. I keep to myself and stay within my neighborhood. Reporter: And back home, authorities are also taking pre cushion. They say there's no specific threat, but they admit an air of mystery worldwide. Officials boosting security on public transit and airports. Ant tonight security officials on cairo are on high alert because the head of al qaeda are calling for all egyptians to rise up against the u.S. And, dan, those embassy closings are a few hours away. A lot of people across this region hoping to prevent an attack. A hope we all share. Nick, thank you. Let's bring in abc's chief global affairs correspondent, martha raddatz who is in washington tonight. Martha when we see the size and scope of the u.S. Scope at home and overseas, what should that tell us about the seriousness of this threat? Well, dan, it's a very real threat for overseas. What is picked up on electronic intercepts is from known enemies who pose credible danger. But closing so many embassies is clearly in reaction to what happened in benghazi. The u.S. Is not taking any chances, and that is really what is happening domestically as well. They are being more vigilant because we don't know what we don't know. Many of us assume after the killing of osama bin laden, that al qaeda, their strength is vastly diminished. Is this a wake-up call in that front? In some ways it is. They are all over that region but yemen has become the hot bed. There were three drone strikes tee jst t tells you somthin yot o yemen and all of the co when you see the embassies there, are they secure? No matter how much they try to build up these embassy, is always some vulnerability and they get very nervous about th embassy in yemen in particular. It is nothing like the massive new ones in some pa world and there are hotels there and other things that are ys vuln martha raddatz, thank you,
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