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, according to a US official.
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 United States and United Kingdom to ban devices larger than a cellphone from certain flights, the US official told CNN.
The new security restrictions, announced 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 smartphone aboard their aircraft. Instead, those electronics need to be stored in the cargo hold.
The US ban will affect more than 50 flights a day from 10 airports in the mainly Muslim countries, including major hubs such as Dubai and Istanbul, according to senior administration officials. The nine airlines affected were notified of the procedures by the United States at 3 a.m. ET Tuesday and must comply within 96 hours.
The UK ban affects six countries, including two not on the US list: Tunisia and Lebanon.(Source: CNN)