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Possible explosives in batteries led to airline gadgets ban

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The UK has announced a similar ban of electronic devices on select flights. Direct flights to the UK from Turkey, Lebanon, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Tunisia will not allow devices above a certain size in plane cabins, requiring them to be checked in, reported TechRadar.

Devices that must be checked in on these flights include laptops, tablets, e-readers and DVD players, however unlike the US ban, it also covers phones larger than 16.0cm x 9.3cm x 1.5cm. The US requirements don't apply to smartphones, though particularly large ones may be restricted.

Travelers are advised to contact their airline if they have questions about what devices they can bring onboard.
Electronic devices larger than smartphones are banned from the cabins of non-stop flights to the US departing from 10 airports and must be checked in, the US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) announced Tuesday.

The impetus for the enhanced security measures is not a specific threat, but rather a trend by terrorist groups to target commercial aviation, according to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Terrorists have in the past smuggled explosives disguised in consumer products, and the TSA, DHS and other agencies are concerned about terrorist groups' attempts to evade airport security and carry out attacks.

New intelligence also played a role in implementing the directive, and the US government recognizes an "intensifying" effort to attack the airline sector.

Though the ban is not universal, it will impact all passengers on non-stop flights to the US from the 10 affected airports. Here's a breakdown of the electronics ban, including which airports are impacted, what kind of devices won't be allowed in plane cabins and how long the ban could last.

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Intelligence obtained in recent weeks found that an al Qaeda affiliate was perfecting techniques for hiding explosives in batteries and battery compartments of electronic devices, which compelled the United States and UK to ban electronics in flights, reported ANI News (India).

"The discovery that al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula was looking to exploit batteries and their compartments in laptops and other commercial electronic devices led the U.S. and UK to ban devices larger than a cell phone from certain flights, the CNN quoted an U.S. official as saying.

The new security restrictions, announced on Tuesday, require airlines based in the Middle East and North Africa to prevent people flying from eight countries from bringing any device bigger than a smart phone on board their aircraft. Instead, those electronics need to be stored in the cargo hold.

U.S. officials told CNN that intelligence "indicates terrorist groups continue to target commercial aviation" by "smuggling explosive devices in various consumer items.

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