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Threat Forces US Embassy in Sudan to Close for Rest of Week - 2003-11-10

The U.S. Embassy in Khartoum is closing down for the rest of the week because of what State Department officials say is a "credible and specific" threat to U.S. interests in the Sudanese capital. The move follows a similar closure of U.S. diplomatic posts in Saudi Arabia last Friday.

Officials here are not providing any details on the nature of the threat in Sudan. But they say the information was serious enough, apparently, to merit an unusual week-long closure of the U.S. facility in Khartoum.

The embassy put out a message to U.S. citizens in Khartoum urging them to keep a low profile, and to avoid large gatherings of foreigners that might attract attention. It said the embassy hoped to resume normal operations next week.

Troubled for a decade, U.S.-Sudanese relations have improved lately amid what the Bush administration says has been growing cooperation with Sudan on counter-terrorism. But the American embassy in Khartoum remains a small post, run by a charge-d'affaires rather than a full ambassador.

Last Friday, the State Department also cited credible and specific threat information in ordering the closure of the U.S. embassy and two consulates in Saudi Arabia. The next day, a suicide car bomb attack on a housing complex in Riyadh for foreign residents killed at least 17 people.