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US embassy reopens in SAfrica

JOHANNESBURG, Sept 25 – The United States reopened its embassy and consulates in South Africa on Friday three days after closing them due to a security threat, a US embassy spokeswoman said.

"We are all open for regular business," spokeswoman Sharon Hudson-Dean told AFP.

The embassy in Pretoria, consulates in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban, as well as aid and development offices, closed on Tuesday after the US State Department said a "credible" threat had been received.

The Star newspaper said Thursday that the shutdown was ordered after an Al-Qaeda splinter group phoned the embassy on Monday and threatened to attack US government buildings in South Africa.

The report did not identify the group, but said the threat was apparently prompted by the killing of a top regional Al-Qaeda leader in Somalia during a lightning US military operation last week.

South Africa itself is not seen as a target for terrorist attacks, but the incident has heightened security concerns in the country ahead of the 2010 football World Cup.

The South African government on Wednesday moved to assure foreign citizens of their safety, and said security forces were in constant touch with US officials.

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