“The Trump administration on Tuesday imposed restrictions on carry-on electronic devices on planes coming to the United States from 10 airports in Muslim-majority countries in the Middle East and North Africa in response to unspecified terrorism threats,” Reuters reports. “The Department of Homeland Security said passengers traveling from those airports could not bring devices larger than a cellphone, such as tablets, portable DVD players, laptops and cameras, into the main cabin. Instead, they must be in checked baggage. The new restrictions were prompted by reports that militant groups want to smuggle explosive devices in electronic gadgets, officials told reporters on a conference call on Monday.”
“The airports are in Cairo; Istanbul; Kuwait City; Doha, Qatar; Casablanca, Morocco; Amman, Jordan; Riyadh and Jeddah, Saudi Arabia; and Dubai and Abu Dhabi in United Arab Emirates,” Reuters reports. “The airports affected by the electronics rules are served by nine airlines that fly directly from those cities to the United States about 50 times a day, senior government officials said. The carriers — Royal Jordanian Airlines, Egypt Air, Turkish Airlines, Saudi Arabian Airlines, Kuwait Airways , Royal Air Maroc, Qatar Airways, Emirates and Etihad Airways — have until Friday to comply with the new policy, which took effect early on Tuesday and will be in place indefinitely.”
“The policy does not affect any American carriers because none fly directly to the United States from the airports, officials said. Officials did not explain why the restrictions only apply to travelers arriving in the United States and not for those same flights when they leave the United States,” Reuters reports. “Reuters reported Monday that the move had been under consideration since the U.S. government learned of a threat several weeks ago. U.S. officials have told Reuters the information gleaned from a U.S. commando raid in January in Yemen that targeted al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula included bombmaking techniques.”
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“British passengers on holiday flights from the Middle East and North Africa will be banned within days from carrying laptops, tablets and other electronic devices on board after security services identified a new al-Qaeda terrorist threat,” Steven Swinford reports for The Telegraph. “More than 2 million passengers a year flying on airlines including British Airways, Thomson, Thomas Cook and Easyjet will be prevented from taking devices larger than a mobile phone into the cabin. Instead, anyone flying from Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia and Saudi Arabia will have to put electronic devices in their hold luggage, despite concerns they could be stolen or damaged.”
“The Government introduced the ban after a similar move by the US, where officials revealed ‘evaluated intelligence’ showed that terrorists are “aggressively pursuing innovative measures” to carry out attacks with devices such as laptop bombs,” Swinford reports. “The intelligence is believed to have come from a raid by US Navy Seals in Yemen in January, which targeted al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsular (AQAP). It resulted in the death of a soldier, but yielded ‘important intelligence,’ according to President Donald Trump.”
“US security analysts are also said to have picked up increased “chatter” in recent weeks from militants saying they want to hide explosives in computers,” Swinford reports. “Last year the insurgent group al-Shabaab smuggled an explosive-filled laptop on a flight out of Mogadishu, Somalia, blowing a hole in the side of a plane.”
“The restrictions will cover all electronic devices larger than 6.3ins (16cm) long, 3.6 inches (9.3cm) wide and 0.6 inches (1.5cms) deep. The ban will hit tablets, laptops, handheld games consoles, e-readers such as Kindles and portable DVD players,” Swinford reports. “The ban explicitly refers only to direct flights to Britain, leaving a potential loophole for people who fly via other European hubs. Government sources suggested that other European nations are likely to follow the UK’s example.”
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MacDailyNews Take: On the bright side, iPhone 7 Plus sales are set to skyrocket, er… increase greatly in areas affected by the ban.