Police in Bangladesh have stepped up security in the capital's diplomatic zone after four foreign missions received faxed threats, Dhaka's police chief told AFP on Friday.
Shahidul Haque said extra security checkpoints and additional armed police officers had been deployed to the missions of the United States, Australia, Canada and Britain, which are all within a few blocks of each other.
"The fax was sent on Thursday and appeared to come from a Malaysian number from a group calling itself Jemaah Islamia Al-Qaeda," he said.
"They called for the embassies to shut down within seven days or else they would be attacked. There was also a demand for 100,000 dollars to be remitted via Western Union."
State Minister for Home Affairs Tanjim Ahmed Sohel Taj said the government was taking the threat very seriously and intelligence officers were working to trace the source.
"Massive security steps have been taken," he was quoted by the private United News of Bangladesh as saying. "We'll not allow any threat to the missions of our friendly countries in our soil."
The minister visited the area today to see first-hand the new security measures.