US Closes Embassies Across Muslim World

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JERUSALEM, Israel -- The U.S. State Department's closure of embassies and consulates across the Muslim world includes the Jewish State of Israel.

State Department officials said Thursday that embassies and consulates would be closed Sunday due to unspecified "security considerations." The closures coincide with the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.

State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said some embassies and diplomatic missions may remain closed after Sunday.

Closures included embassies in Baghdad, Cairo, and Abu Dhabi, as well as in Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait, Libya, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Israel.

In a related matter, Secretary of State John Kerry said the Egyptian military is restoring democracy following the ouster of former President Mohammed Morsi.

His remarks came as Egypt's interim government continues to deal with thousands of defiant Morsi supporters staging massive sit-ins in two main locations in the nation's capital -- one outside a mosque in northern Cairo and the other in Giza Square.

The government said the month-long sit-ins have become a "threat to the country's national security," asking protesters to disband peacefully and not resort to violence.

"There are expectations of a massacre taking place in front of the eyes of the whole world," said Essam el-Erian, vice president of the Freedom and Justice Party, the Muslim Brotherhood's political arm, implying they're willing to "martyr" themselves for their cause.

Late Monday, thousands of supporters chanting "our blood and our souls we sacrifice for Morsi" marched on military and security buildings to protest the deaths of more than 80 demonstrators over the weekend.

The military backed more than 30 million Egyptians who demonstrated against what they perceive as Morsi's attempt to impose Islamic rule over the country along with its failure to address the failing economy and other pressing issues.

After Morsi's ouster, Muslim Brotherhood members were invited to join the transitional government, but they refused saying they would only accept Morsi's reinstatement. The government hopes to hold new elections early next year.

Meanwhile, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon backed the protesters.

"Freedom of expression and freedom of assembly need to be guaranteed," Ban's spokesman Martin Nesirky said, MENA reported.

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