Several Predominantly Muslim Countries Ban Electronic Devices

March 20, 2017 Thirteen Middle Eastern and African airlines will ban laptops and other large electronics from U. S. bound flights.

NPR issued a statement via Twitter on Monday acknowledging reports that Royal Jordanian Airlines has restricted carry-on personal electronics on flights to the U.S. from 13 countries.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security issued the following statement:

“We have no comment on potential security precautions, but will provide any update as appropriate.”

CNN reports that an unnamed official said flights in certain Middle Eastern and African countries en route to the U.S. must require passengers to check in almost all electronic devices rather than carry them into the cabin. The official cited security concerns regarding passengers boarding non-stop flights to the U.S. from some specific countries.

U.S. President Donald Trump issued an executive order banning citizens of 13 predominately Muslim countries in January. The controversial “Muslim ban” was struck down by a federal court in Seattle. A federal court in Hawaii struck down the Trump administration’s revised travel ban last week.

Worldwide, countries have issued temporary bans of electronics on flights as a counterterrorism measure. In July 2014, in response to a “credible” threat, the U.K. and U.S. Transportation Security Administration temporarily required passengers to power up their mobile phones and other electronic devices to prove to security officials that the devices did not contain explosives.

In 2010, al-Qaeda in the Arabian Penninsula (AQAP) planted bombs inside printer cartridges on two flights bound for Chicago. Thanks to a tip from the Saudi government, the bombs were discovered at U.K. and Dubai airports before reaching the American skies. A Scotland Yard spokesperson said:

“If the device had not been removed from the aircraft the activation could have occurred over the eastern seaboard of the US.”

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