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ME passengers to be hit by US electronics travel ban

Passengers travelling on certain U.S.-bound  flights from 10 airports in the Middle East and North Africa will soon have to check in electronic devices larger than a mobile phone.


According to officials, the new rule is expected to be announced on Tuesday by the Department of Homeland Security, in response to an unspecified terrorism threat.

According to a recent Reuters report, the rule will cover around eight to 10 foreign airlines. An Associated Press report confirmed that the ban will affect 10 airports in eight countries in the Middle East and North Africa.

Reuters reported earlier that the ban would include airlines based in Jordan and Saudi Arabia. The officials did not name the other countries, only that no American carriers were to be affected by the ban.

Passengers would be allowed to carry in their checked luggage larger devices like tablets, portable DVD players, laptops and cameras.

Royal Jordanian Airlines said in a tweet on Monday that U.S.-bound passengers would be barred from carrying most electronic devices aboard aircraft starting Tuesday at the request of U.S. officials, including those that transit through Canada. Passengers can still carry mobile phones and approved medical devices.

Al Riyadh newspaper, which is close to the Saudi government, reported that the civil aviation authority had informed “airlines flying from the kingdom’s (Saudi) airports to U.S. airports of the latest measures from U.S. security agencies in which passengers must store laptops and tablets” in checked in baggage.

Al Riyadh quoted a civil aviation authority source as saying that these measures from senior U.S. authorities were relayed to the Saudi interior ministry.

Saudia Airlines confirmed in a tweet that U.S. transportation authorities had barred carrying larger electronic devices in cabin luggage.

The White House declined to comment.

David Lapan, a spokesman for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, said the agency has “no comment on potential security precautions, but will provide an update when appropriate.”

According to congressional aides, John Kelly, Homeland Security Secretary, called congressional lawmakers this weekend to notify them of the plan.

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