iPad bomb plot helped prompt laptop ban — report
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iPad bomb plot helped prompt laptop ban — report

Unnamed terror group sought to set off explosive-filled fake tablet in cabin of passenger plane

Kuwaiti social media activist Thamer al-Dakheel Bourashed puts his laptop inside his suitcase at Kuwait International Airport in Kuwait City, before boarding a flight to the United States on March 23, 2017. (AFP/Yasser Al-Zayyat)
Kuwaiti social media activist Thamer al-Dakheel Bourashed puts his laptop inside his suitcase at Kuwait International Airport in Kuwait City, before boarding a flight to the United States on March 23, 2017. (AFP/Yasser Al-Zayyat)

Bans issued earlier this week by the United States and the United Kingdom prohibiting electronic devices such as laptops and tablets in the cabin of flights from certain countries were in part impelled by a plot to smuggle an explosive-filled fake iPad onto a passenger plane.

In a report published Sunday in the British daily The Guardian, an unnamed security source said that the decision by both the US and UK to implement the ban was not brought about by any specific instance but rather due to a number of reasons, including the iPad plot.

Further details of the plot, such as the terror organization responsible or the country from which it originated, were not revealed in the report.

According to the , the unearthing of the plot generated concern among intelligence officials, as a bomb set off in the cabin could do much greater damage than one in the cargo hold, with the terrorist able to position the explosive near an exit door or a window.

Although US and British officials said last week the decision to implement the directive wasn’t based on any specific threat, but on longstanding concerns about terrorists targeting jetliners, the American officials warned earlier that terrorists plan to target passenger jets with bombs hidden in electronic devices and are aggressively pursuing new methods to conduct attacks, including smuggling explosives in consumer items.

Under the new bans, electronic devices larger than smartphones, such as laptops, tablets and gaming devices, will have to be checked on some international flights. American officials announced the US ban early Tuesday, and the British followed later in the day after discussions between the countries.

Emirates passenger planes at Dubai airport in United Arab Emirates, May 8, 2014. (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili, File)
Emirates passenger planes at Dubai airport in United Arab Emirates, May 8, 2014. (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili, File)

The US ban affects flights from Amman, Jordan; Kuwait City, Kuwait; Cairo; Istanbul; Jeddah and Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; Casablanca, Morocco; Doha, Qatar, and Dubai and Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates. About 50 flights a day, all on foreign carriers, will be affected. Senior Trump administration officials who briefed reporters about the ban said no US-based airlines have nonstop flights from those cities to the US.

The British security rules apply to flights from Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia and Saudi Arabia.

US officials would not specify how long the ban will last, but Emirates told AFP that it had been instructed to enforce the measures until at least October 14.

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