WASHINGTON: US authorities will no longer allow travelers from eight Muslim Majority counties of Africa and Middle East to bring computers and laptops into airplane cabins anymore. The new rules were laid out in an l email marked “confidential” sent to airlines today by the US Transportation Safety Administration. It is learnt that cell phones will still be allowed, but anything larger, including laptops, tablets, and cameras must be put in checked baggage.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said extremists were seeking “innovative methods” to bring down jets. Bombs could be hidden in laptops, tablets, cameras, DVD players and electronic games, it was said.
The measure will most likely to affect nine airlines operating out of 10 airports.
Saudi Arabian Airlines
Royal Air Maroc
A U.S. official told The Associated Press the ban will apply to nonstop flights to the U.S. from 10 international airports serving the cities of Cairo in Egypt; Amman in Jordan; Kuwait City in Kuwait; Casablanca in Morocco; Doha in Qatar; Riyadh and Jeddah in Saudi Arabia; Istanbul in Turkey; and Abu Dhabi and Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. The ban was indefinite, said the official.
The US officials told that the airlines had been given 96 hours, beginning at 07:00 GMT on Tuesday, to ban devices bigger than a mobile phone or smartphone from cabins.
However, It isn’t clear which airlines received the new directive, but it is confirmed that at least Royal Jordanian and Saudia Airlines are among the airlines affected.
The officials were not authorized to disclose the details of the ban ahead of a public announcement and spoke on the condition of anonymity.
A U.S. government official said such a ban has been considered for several weeks. The official spoke on the condition of anonymity to disclose the internal security discussions by the federal government.
The ban would begin just before Wednesday’s meeting of the U.S.-led coalition against the Islamic State group in Washington. A number of top Arab officials were expected to attend the State Department gathering. It was unclear whether their travel plans were related to any increased worry about security threats.