(CNN) – Shuttered American embassies dotting the Middle East are a reminder that extremist threats still exist, despite a dismantled al Qaeda core in Afghanistan and Pakistan, President Barack Obama told a crowd of Marines Wednesday.
During his address at Camp Pendleton between Los Angeles and San Diego, Obama said those threats shouldn't cause Americans to "retreat from the world."
"As I've said before, even as we decimated the al Qaeda leadership that attacked us on 9/11, al Qaeda affiliates and likeminded extremists still threaten our homeland, still threaten our diplomatic facilities, still threaten our businesses abroad. We've got to take these threats seriously, and do all we can to confront them," Obama said, calling the current security precautions a "reminder" of the dangers that still exist to Americans.
It was the second time Obama spoke publicly about the recent threats, which prompted the United States to issue a worldwide travel alert and close embassies and diplomatic posts across the Middle East and North Africa.
On the "Tonight Show" with Jay Leno Tuesday, Obama said the precautions were not an overreaction, stressing the importance of using caution and common sense while traveling abroad.
"The odds of dying in a terrorist attack are a lot lower than they are of dying in a car accident, unfortunately," Obama said.
In his speech at Camp Pendleton, the president continued his assertion that al Qaeda's core had been decimated under his watch, despite some criticism from Republicans that recent threats have undercut that claim.
"Because of you al Qaeda's top ranks have been hammered," Obama told the Marines. "The core of al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan is on the way to defeat."