Al Qaeda in Iraq claimed in a Web posting that it had killed the Egyptian diplomat, Ihab al-Sherif, and warned it would go after "as many ambassadors as we can" to punish countries that support Iraq's U.S.-backed leadership.
Meanwhile, the top U.S. commander in the Iraqi capital said Friday U.S. and Iraqi forces have "mostly eliminated" the ability of insurgents to conduct sustained, high-intensity attacks in Baghdad.
In other recent developments:
Saad Mohammed Ridha, the head of Iraq's diplomatic mission in Cairo, told The Associated Press that Egypt's foreign ministry informed him late Thursday that the mission would close temporarily and the staff was recalled.
An Egyptian official in Cairo also said Egypt would temporarily close its mission in Iraq and has recalled its staff — although there was no sign Friday that any of the Egyptians were leaving.
Iraqi government spokesman Laith Kubba said he hadn't been informed that Egypt intended to recall its diplomats, but urged other countries not to be intimidated.
"If the rest of the diplomatic missions from Europe and the neighboring countries give in, this means that all the capitals of the world will be subjected to blackmail," Kubba said Friday.
Shiite and Sunni clerics, speaking at Friday prayers, condemned al-Sherif's killing.
"We reject any attack against any diplomat because attacking the diplomats is an act that doesn't serve our cause," said Sheik Ahmed Abdul Ghafour al-Samarie of the Association of Muslim Scholars at Baghdad's Um al-Qura mosque during Friday prayers.