As an anti terrorism precaution the US has placed a ban on devices larger than a phone on some inbound flights.
The airports affected are:
- Mohammed V International, Casablanca, Morocco
- Ataturk Airport, Istanbul, Turkey
- Cairo International Airport, Egypt
- Queen Alia International, Amman, Jordan
- King Abdulaziz International, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
- King Khalid International, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
- Kuwait International Airport
- Hamad International, Doha, Qatar
- Abu Dhabi International, United Arab Emirates
- Dubai International, United Arab Emirates
They have been given a deadline of 07:00 GMT on Saturday to impose the ban, US officials said, adding that the restriction had no end date.
The UK announcement followed shortly after the US. Downing Street said airline passengers on 14 carriers would not be able to carry laptops in cabin luggage on inbound direct flights from Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia and Saudi Arabia.
Large electronic devices will still be allowed on board in checked baggage.
Canada is also considering restrictions on electronics in the cabins of planes according to Canadian Transport Minister Marc Garneau.
According to BBC security correspondent Frank Gardner there has been some “evaluated intelligence”. This means that US intelligence has either intercepted discussion of a possible extremist plot or has been passed word of one by a human informant.
“The additional security measures may cause some disruption for passengers and flights, and we understand the frustration that will cause, but our top priority will always be to maintain the safety of British nationals”, stated a British Government spokesperson.
DHS cited attacks on planes and airports over the past two years, “Terrorists have historically tried to hide explosives in shoes in 2001, use liquid explosives in 2006, and conceal explosives in printers in 2010 and suicide devices in underwear in 2009 and 2012,” it noted.
“Evaluated intelligence indicates that terrorist groups continue to target commercial aviation, to include smuggling explosive devices in various consumer items,” the DHS said.
Philip Baum, editor in chief of Aviation Security magazine, told the BBC: “If we cannot, in 2017, distinguish between a laptop that contains an IED [improvised explosive device] and one that does not, then our screening process is completely flawed.”
“And encouraging people to check laptops, and other such items, into the luggage hold simply makes the challenge even harder. Cabin baggage can, at least, be inspected piece by piece and the accompanying passenger questioned.”