The US closed 21 of its embassies and consulates in the Middle East this weekend, including Yemen and Libya following threats from al - Qaida who might possibly target either American government or private interests.

The Obama administration announced the weekend closures on Friday and the State Department announced a global travel alert.

The US warning urged American travelers to take extra precautions overseas, citing potential dangers involved with public transportation systems and other prime sites for tourists.

It noted that previous attacks by militants have centered on subway and rail networks as well as airplanes and boats. It suggested travelers sign up for State Department alerts and register with US consulates in the countries they visit.

The intelligence intercepts have also prompted Britain, Germany and France to close their embassies in Yemen on Sunday and Monday.

British authorities said some embassy staff in Yemen had been withdrawn " due to security concerns. "

Saeed al - Jamhi, a specialist in Al - Qaida affairs in Yemen believes the alerts might not be enough.

" Even if the embassies closed for one or two days, Al - Qaida may carry attacks after a week. Al - Qaida is experienced with security measures for those countries and it can change the tactics. ”

A day after the US issued the extraordinary global travel warning, Interpol issued a global security alert on Saturday related to the recent prison breaks in Iraq, Libya and Pakistan.

The Lyon, France - based international police agency says that the alert follows " the escape of hundreds of terrorists and other criminals " in the past month.