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http://newU.S. to keep South Africa embassy closed after threat

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Delicious Digg Facebook Fark Newsvine Reddit StumbleUpon Technorati Twitter Yahoo! Bookmarks .Print ..By Agnieszka Flak Agnieszka Flak – Tue Sep 22, 3:33 pm ET

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – The United States will keep its embassy and other American government offices in South Africa closed on Wednesday after it received an undisclosed security threat, the embassy said on its website.


U.S. embassy spokeswoman Sharon Hudson-Dean had said earlier on Tuesday that the assumption was that the U.S. offices would reopen on Wednesday.


U.S. State Department spokesman Ian Kelly said the threat was "pretty credible information" against U.S. government facilities in South Africa, the continent's biggest economy.


South Africa, due to host the soccer World Cup next year, is not itself seen as a target for attacks. Hudson-Dean said it was the first time in a decade the offices had been closed due to a security threat.


Somali rebels have vowed to avenge last week's killing of one of the continent's most wanted al Qaeda suspects in a raid by U.S. commandos, but there has been no previous link between Somali insurgents and South Africa.


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


"The embassy is tracking developments very closely and assessing its security posture and formulating an appropriate course of action," said Kelly.


South African Police Commissioner Bheki Cele did not give details of the threat and said he could not rule out the possibility of a hoax while investigations continued.


"It is under control," he told reporters in Cape Town.


A U.S. embassy message told American citizens to refer back to a July 29 U.S. State Department worldwide caution.


It included a warning that information suggests al Qaeda and affiliated organizations continue to plan terrorist attacks against U.S. interests in Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East.


As well as the embassy, there are U.S. consulates in Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town and other U.S. government offices, including that of USAID, the Agency for International Development.


(Additional reporting by Ed Cropley in Johannesburg; Wendell Roelf in Cape Town and Eric Beech in Washington; Writing by Michael Georgy; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)


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