The UK just issued a ban on passengers using most electronic devices on flights from some Middle Eastern countries, according to Sky News. The move affecting thousands of passengers coming from six predominantly-Muslim countries mirrors a similar measure imposed by the US, citing an attempt by the Islamist al-Shabaab group to bring down a jet in Somalia using a laptop bomb.
The details of the UK ban are still unknown, but if it’s anything like the US restriction, it will cover all electronic devices bigger than a smartphone. That includes laptops, tablets, gaming devices, e-readers, and portable DVD players. Smartphones and medical devices are exempt amid of the US ban.
Ten airports in eight countries - Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, Qatar, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates - are affected. Officials said the airports were selected based on the "current threat picture."
The list of airports affected includes Queen Alia International Airport (AMM) in Jordan, Cairo International Airport (CAI) in Egypt, Ataturk International Airport (IST) in Turkey, King Abdulaziz International Airport (JED) and King Khalid International Airport (RUH) in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait International Airport (KWI) in Kuwait, Mohammed V International Airport (CMN) in Morocco, Hamad International Airport (DOH) in Qatar and Dubai International Airport (DXB) and Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH) in the United Arab Emirates.
Whether the US and the UK are responding to a specific threat is still unclear. Security sources told The Telegraph that UK security services “have seen the same intelligence as their US counterparts,” which is apparently being used to formulate that country’s security order. And Sky News is reporting that the order is in response to “the general threat from terrorism” and not a specific attack or possible attack.
Turkey's transport minister, Ahmet Arslan, criticized the banTuesday, telling reporters in Ankara that it was not "beneficial" for passengers and that Turkey already has stringent security measures in place, according to Turkey's semi-official Anadolu news agency. He added that Turkish officials had spoken about the regulations with their American counterparts and were discussing whether the Trump administration should "step back."
Officials said airlines will have 96 hours to comply with the restrictions. Carriers that fail to follow them risk losing their authorization to operate in the United States.
Source: The Verge and Ndtv