Electronics Banned From Cabins On Some African And Middle Eastern Flights To U.S.

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U.S. official said, airlines that fly from certain countries in the Africa and the Middle East to the United States must soon require passengers to check in almost all electronic devices rather than carry them into the cabin. The official said this will impact some airlines flying into the U.S. This covers devices larger than a cellphone, says another U.S. Administration official. An aviation official said that there is a security concern regarding passengers boarding nonstop flights to the U.S. from specific countries. This relates to the “screening in some countries” for nonstop flights to the U.S.

They said that they trust a threat to the U.S. would be negated if a passenger transferred through a secondary city with additional and more trustworthy screening procedures. The directive is to assure enhanced security measures at select airports for a limited duration. In a written statement, the Department of Homeland Security said, “We don’t have any remark on potential security precautions, but will provide any update as appropriate.” A State Department official says embassy officials have been notifying relevant countries and airlines.

Another U.S. official says the ban on some electronics is considered to be related to Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula or AQAP. The intelligence community has been tracking this threat for some time, but the official said that some information from a recent U.S. Special Forces raid in Yemen contributed to the ongoing concern. AQAP has been actively trying to build bombs that contain little or no metal content to point commercial aircraft. And the group’s chief bomb maker, Ibrahim al-Asiri, has trained others to do so. The officials said, to date, they are the only terror organization that has shown a considerable effort to try to attack airlines.

A third U.S. official said there has been concern about attacks via electronics for some months, but there wasn’t enough data or information to warrant an airline action before. An aviation official said U.S. carriers are not affected because none flies directly from the countries in question to the United States. Some airlines have remarked on the new measures. Etihad Airways in the United Arab Emirates said Tuesday it had received a directive from the U.S. government and was reviewing it. Another big carrier from the UAE, Emirates, said it hadn’t yet received any notification but would “comply with any new operational or regulatory requirements issued by the relevant authorities.” Turkish Airlines also rooted that it had received a notice.

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