Al-Qaeda group threatened US's S.Africa embassy

Nov 30, -0001
JOHANNESBURG: The security threat that led to all U.S. government facilities in South Africa being closed this week came from an al-Qaeda splinter group, a South African newspaper reported on Thursday.

The U.S. facilities were closed from Tuesday following a threat that the U.S. State Department had said was based on "pretty credible information".

The Star newspaper said that, according to "well-placed security sources", the group had telephoned the U.S. embassy in Pretoria on Monday warning of planned attacks against several of the country's buildings in South Africa.

The planned attacks were believed to be in response to last week's killing in Somalia of one of the continent's most wanted al Qaeda suspects in a raid by U.S. commandos, the newspaper said.

U.S. embassy spokeswoman Sharon Hudson-Dean declined to comment on the report.

The embassy and other U.S. facilities are expected to resume normal operations on Friday.

Somali rebels have vowed to avenge the killing of Kenyan-born Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan, but there has been no previous link between Somali insurgents and South Africa.

South Africa, due to host the soccer World Cup next year, is not itself seen as a target for attacks.

Bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998 killed 224 people and wounded thousands. AGENCIES





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