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Updated: Sun, 04 Aug 2013 12:35:19 GMT | By The Canadian Press, cbc.ca

Canadian mission in Bangladesh closed amid al-Qaeda threat



Canadian mission in Bangladesh closed amid al-Qaeda threat

Canada's high commission office in Bangladesh is closed today as western countries take precautions over concerns of possible al-Qaeda attacks.

Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird's office says the mission in Dhaka is being closed as a security precaution.

It follows U.S. warnings of a threatened al-Qaeda attack and the closure of 21 American embassies and consulates in the Middle East and North Africa this weekend.

U.S. officials said al-Qaeda militants were eyeing western interests, not just American ones.

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France, Britain and Germany all moved to close their missions in Yemen today, a working day in that part of the world.

Canada has no embassy in Yemen.

On Friday, Baird said there were no plans to close any Canadian missions today, but indicated his officials would be monitoring the situation through the weekend.

The decision to close Canada's diplomatic outpost in Bangladesh was made on Saturday.

The widespread U.S. security alert, set to end on Aug. 31, also included a global travel warning to American citizens.

The U.S. State Department warned of a possible attack occurring or coming from the Arabian Peninsula and cited public transportation and tourist sites among possible targets.

Baird has also warned both diplomats and Canadian travellers to exercise caution.

"As a security precaution, Canada's mission in Dhaka will be closed today," Bair's press secretary Rick Roth told CBC News.

"We take the safety and security of our personnel and our missions overseas very seriously," he said. "We will continue to monitor events closely and take the appropriate security measures.

"We won't comment publicly on security precaution specifics at our missions," Roth added.

Scott Stewart, a former special agent with the U.S. State Department, told CBC News that he wouldn't suggest that people cancel their vacation plans, but he had a warning for "Westerners already living in these countries."

"I’d certainly be careful if I were a Canadian or any Westerner living [in the Middle East, North Africa or Afghanistan]," Stewart said in an interview on Friday afternoon. "I would especially stay away from hotels, these big, high-profile hotels that have been hit in the past."

List of embassies shut

The U.S. embassies that have closed are located in the following cities:

- Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

- Algiers, Algeria.

- Amman, Jordan.

- Baghdad, Iraq.

- Cairo, Egypt.

- Dhahran, Saudi Arabia.

- Djibouti, Djibouti.

- Dhaka, Bangladesh.

- Doha, Qatar.

- Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

- Erbil, Iraq.

- Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

- Kabul, Afghanistan.

- Khartoum, Sudan.

- Kuwait City, Kuwait.

- Manama, Bahrain.

- Muscat, Oman.

- Nouakchott, Mauritania.

- Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

- Sanaa, Yemen.

- Tripoli, Libya.

With files from CBC News

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