On Tuesday, officials from both the United States and Great Britain announced new restrictions being imposed on electronic devices that may be carried on board aircraft coming from certain airports in Muslim-majority nations in the Middle East as well as North Africa. The new regulations are intended to help curb potential terrorist threats.
The Department of Homeland Security announced the new restrictions, citing devices such as tablets, portable DVD players, laptops and cameras that are larger than a mobile phone as banned in the main cabin of aircraft leaving the list of ten airports in eight countries. The devices can still be brought on the aircraft via checked baggage, but cannot remain with the passenger during the flight.
Britain followed suit hours later, announcing similar restrictions via a spokesman for Prime Minister Theresa May. Their restrictions outline limits on digital devices being carried on board by passengers flying out of six Middle Eastern nations.
The new restrictions have not yet gone into effect, but DHS stated, “The affected airlines have already been informed and we expect the measures to be in place in the next couple of days.”
According to sources in each nation, these changes were brought about by intelligence reports that indicate militant groups are working to find new ways to smuggle explosive devices on board commercial air craft via readily available electronic devices.
“The U.S. government is concerned about terrorists’ ongoing interest in targeting commercial aviation, including transportation hubs over the past two years,” a U.S. counter-terrorism official said in a statement. “Our information indicates that terrorist groups’ efforts to execute an attack against the aviation sector are intensifying.”