Mystery – US Bans In-Flight Electronic Devices from Arab Countries

electronic devices

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The US has been increasing the security arrangements regarding incoming flights – mainly from Muslim Middle Eastern states. Passengers arriving on direct flights from certain destinations will not be allowed to carry large electronic devices such as laptops or ipads. The ban will include flights destined to the US from 10 airports in eight countries: 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 UAE.

A formal source in the US administration said the decision was taken due to a certain terrorist threat but declined to elaborate on the nature of the threat.

The White House refused to comment on the information. David Lapan, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) spokesman, said the department will announce new measures in case of need.

According to new agencies reports, the ban will not include any American airlines but only companies in the Middle East. Passengers of the companies included in the ban will not be able to board the plane with electronic devices larger than a cell phone. The source said the DHS is expected to publish an announcement today, and the ban will include 12 foreign airliners from some 12 states – including in the Middle East, such as Saudi Arabia and Jordan.

The Jordanian airliner Royal Jordanian twitted tonight that beginning tomorrow, as per US request, the company’s passengers flying to the US will not be able to board the plane with the majority of electronic devices. The ban is relevant also for passengers via Canada. The passengers would still be able to carry cell phones and medical devices upon permission.

The Saudi journal Al Riyadh, identified with the Saudi regime, reported that the civil aviation authority updated the “airliners flying from airports in the kingdom to US airports about the recent measures by the US security agencies, stating that the passengers will have to put their laptops and ipads” in the checked luggage and refrain from taking the devices with them.

The British Independent published a list of Middle Eastern and North African airliners flying to the US, which will probably be included in the ban: Arik Air from Lagos; Egyptair from Cairo; Emirates from Dubai and Athens; Ethiopian from Addis Ababa, Lome in Togo and Dublin; Etihad from Abu Dhabi; Kuwait Airways from Kuwait; Qatar Airways from Doha; Royal Air Maroc from Casablanca; Royal Jordanian from Amman; Saudia from Jeddah and Riyadh; South African Airways from Johannesburg and Dakar; and Turkish Airlines from Istanbul.

Pini Shiff, an airport security expert and former head of the security division at the Israeli Airports Authority, said this morning that the decision could be based only on a focused alert received by the TSA, the agency responsible for the security in US airports.