After US, UK too bans laptops on flights from six Middle East countries

By : |March 22, 2017 0

In the wake of new terrorist threats, Britain has announced a cabin ban on laptops and tablets on inbound flights from six countries, following a similar move by the US on Monday.

The ban applies to as many as fourteen airlines that operate direct flights to the UK from countries that include Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia and Saudi Arabia. Notably, the restrictions don’t just apply to devices larger than smartphones but extends to phones that are larger than 16cm long by 9.3cm wide by 1.5cm thick.

Any such devices will need to be placed in hold luggage. The restrictions have no time limit and will apply until further notice, a Downing Street spokesman said.

No restrictions will apply to larger smartphones, including the iPhone 7 and Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge, which are under the size restriction. However, many reading devices, including Kindles, are too large and will not be allowed in cabin baggage.

The British government has 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.

In a statement on Tuesday, the US Department of Homeland Security said: “The US government is concerned about terrorists’ ongoing interest in targeting commercial aviation, including transportation hubs over the past two years, as evidenced by the 2015 airliner downing in Egypt; the 2016 attempted airliner downing in Somalia; and the 2016 armed attacks against airports in Brussels and Istanbul.

“Evaluated intelligence indicates that terrorist groups continue to target commercial aviation, to include smuggling explosive devices in various consumer items.”

The intelligence reportedly has come from a raid by US Navy Seals in Yemen in January, which targeted Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsular (AQAP). The airlines included in the US decision have been given a deadline of 07:00 GMT on Saturday to impose the ban, officials said, adding that the restriction had no end date.


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