White House holds high-level meeting amid terror fears

WASHINGTON (AFP) - The White House held a high-level meeting on Saturday about terror fears that prompted Washington to issue a travel alert and order its embassies across the Islamic world closed temporarily.

Those attending the gathering, chaired by National Security Advisor Susan Rice, included Secretary of State John Kerry, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.

Also present were the heads of the CIA, FBI and National Security Agency, as well as the US ambassador to the United Nations, the White House said.

President Barack Obama was not present but was briefed about the meeting afterwards, it said in a statement.

"Early this week, the President instructed his National Security team to take all appropriate steps to protect the American people in light of a potential threat occurring in or emanating from the Arabian Peninsula," the statement said.

Regular meetings were held throughout the week by Lisa Monaco, assistant to the president for homeland security and counterterrorism to ensure appropriate steps were being taken, it said.

Saturday's meeting, it added, was intended to "further review the situation and follow-up actions."