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Canadian embassies at ‘elevated risk’ for attack, Baird warns

Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird speaks during a news conference in Ottawa on July 25, 2013.


Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird said both Canadian travellers and diplomats should exercise extra caution on the weekend.

The announcement comes amid heightened warnings about a possible al-Qaeda terrorist attack on U.S. embassies in the Middle East.

Mr. Baird said Canadian embassies are at "an elevated risk," but they had not been ordered to follow the U.S. lead and shut their doors on Sunday. He would not discuss the nature of the threat, but he noted that neither Britain nor Australia have announced a plan to close their missions.

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"At a bare minimum, we're at an elevated risk, and encouraging a higher degree of caution," he said from Chile in a conference call with reporters. "Obviously, between now and Sunday, we'll continuously review the situation."

The U.S. State Department Friday said it will shutter dozens of U.S. diplomatic facilities in the region Sunday in reaction to intelligence sources reporting unspecified threats, particularly in the Middle East and North Africa, with a possible attack occurring or emanating from the Arabian Peninsula.

"Current information suggests that al-Qaeda and affiliated organizations continue to plan terrorist attacks both in the region and beyond, and that they may focus efforts to conduct attacks in the period between now and the end of August," a statement said.

U.S. travellers were urged to take extra precautions when travelling overseas. It was also suggested that they sign up for State Department alerts and register with U.S. consulates in the countries they are visiting.

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About the Author
Chief political writer

Campbell Clark has been a political writer in The Globe and Mail’s Ottawa bureau since 2000. Before that he worked for The Montreal Gazette and the National Post. He writes about Canadian politics and foreign policy. More


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