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Canada shuts three Mideast embassies for the day due to security concerns

A protester covers his face with a hand after being arrested by riot policemen after clashes at Tahrir square in Cairo September 15, 2012. Hundreds of riot police sealed off the area near the U.S. Embassy in Cairo on Saturday and the interior minister said he would restore calm after four days of clashes between police and Egyptians incensed by a film denigrating Prophet Mohammad.


Canada is closing three of its Middle East embassies for the day today because of continued security concerns.

A spokesman for Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird says the missions in Egypt, Libya and Sudan will not be open to ensure the safety of diplomatic staff.

The U.S. State Department ordered the departure of all family members and non-essential personnel on Saturday from posts in Sudan and Tunisia.

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It blames the security situation in the capitals of Tunis and Khartoum.

The Canadian mission in Tunis is normally closed on Sunday.

The U.S. embassy in Yemen has suspended all consular services for two weeks, the mission said in a statement on its website.

The statement, published Saturday, said the embassy will be "closed for all consular services through September 29," warning citizens of the "potential" for protests near the mission.

The moves follow a wave of protests and violence over an anti-Muslim film that has swept across the Middle East and other Muslim countries in recent days.

The obscure, amateurish movie made in the U.S. is called Innocence of Muslims and depicts the Prophet Muhammad as a fraud, a womanizer and a pedophile.

The Canadian embassy in Cairo also closed on Thursday because of the angry protests at the nearby American embassy.

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The normal Egyptian weekend is Friday-Saturday so the Cairo embassy has been closed since.

The Harper government shuttered its embassy in Tehran and severed diplomatic ties with Iran earlier this month, in part because it said it was concerned about the safety of Canadian diplomats.

With a report from Agence France-Presse

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