The State Department has ordered many embassies in the Middle East and elsewhere to close on Sunday in response to a terror threat. A State Department spokeswoman said the closings come out of an "abundance of caution," but warned that they could stretch on for days "depending on our analysis." Security officials tell NBC News that the threat appears to be tied to Ramadan, while others tell the New York Times an al-Qaeda affiliate is at the root of the threat. Sunday is a typical workday in the Muslim world, following a Friday-Saturday weekend.
"It's not often that we close a bunch of embassies at once," one official tells the Times to underscore the seriousness of the threat. Sources differed on just how many embassies were closing. NBC's sources say the closings will hit every embassy in the Middle East and parts of Asia, while the Times reports "nearly all" locations in the Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia will be affected; Fox News and USA Today are reporting that all embassies worldwide will be closed—though Fox notes that those in Europe and Latin America would be closed on Sunday anyway. (Read more al-Qaeda stories.)