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Technology ban on planes tied to iPad terrorist plan of a bomb

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March 27, 2017

A security source at the Guardian reveals that an alleged plot involving an explosives-filled iPad look alike apparently prompted the new restrictions on electronic devices onboard planes from the Middle East in the last few weeks.

The said restrictions took effect two days ago, barring electronics larger than a phone inside the cabin on flights to the United States and Britain from airports in Turkey, Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Qatar, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates.

Both the American and British governments cited global terrorism concerns but didn't provide any additional details.

A terrorist plan to bring explosives on a flight through a device that looked just like an Apple iPad forced security officials to enact the restrictions, The Guardian reported yesterday.

It's still unclear for now whether the device was an iPad shell or a fake iPad. It's also unclear when the alleged incident happened or who was behind it.

Nevertheless, US officials have been investigating how terrorists can disguise explosives as consumer electronics since the 2016 laptop bombing on a flight out of Mogadishu, Somalia, that blew a hole in the side of a plane. A passenger who was sucked out of the aircraft died later.

Intelligence agencies have indicated that terrorists can easily hide explosives in batteries for laptops and iPads.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) ordered the U.S. restrictions on March 20, 2017. Officials initially told reporters that terrorists were aggressively pursuing ways to attack international flights by disguising explosives in electronic devices.

Britain followed with similar restrictions the next day but unlike the U.S., it excluded flights from the UAE and Morocco from its flight ban.

"We fully understand the frustration that this will cause passengers, but our top priority will always be to maintain the safety of British nationals," the British government said in a statement.

Terrorists have hidden explosives in their underwear, shoes and water bottles in attempted attacks on various flights since 9/11. In recent years, airlines have also banned certain electronics from flights if their batteries pose a risk of explosion through malfunction, as in the case of hoverboards and the Samsung Galaxy Note 7.

Airports across the world also remain targets of terrorist attacks, including those in the United States, Belgium and Turkey.

The U.S. ban on carry-on electronics comes on the heels of President Trump's executive orders to ban inbound travel from several Muslim-majority countries, which have been temporarily stopped by U.S. courts.

Source: The Guardian.

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