U.S. bans electronics on some flights from Middle East

U.S. bans electronics on some  flights from Middle EastAirlines that fly from certain countries in the Middle East and Africa to the United States must soon require passengers to check in almost all electronic devices rather than carry them into the cabin, media reported on Tuesday.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said extremists were seeking "innovative methods" to bring down jets. The U.S. administration official said the restriction covers devices larger than a cellphone. Bombs could be hidden in laptops, tablets, cameras, DVD players and electronic games, it said.

The measure will affect nine airlines operating out of 10 airports.

An aviation official told CNN that there is a security concern regarding passengers boarding nonstop flights to the U.S. from specific countries. This relates to the "screening in [some] countries" for nonstop flights to the U.S.

The directive is to ensure enhanced security measures at select airports for a limited duration.

In a written statement, the Department of Homeland Security said, "We have no comment on potential security precautions, but will provide any update as appropriate."

A State Department official says embassy officials have been notifying relevant countries and airlines. U.S. carriers are not affected because none flies directly from the countries in question to the United States.

Some Middle Eastern airlines have commented on the new measures.

Etihad Airways in the United Arab Emirates said Tuesday it had received a directive from the U.S. government and was reviewing it. Emirates, another big carrier from the UAE, said it hadn't yet received any notification but would "comply with any new operational or regulatory requirements issued by the relevant authorities."

Saudi Arabian Airlines told its customers in a statement on Twitter that new measures from the U.S. Transportation Security Administration include a ban on laptops and tablets, like iPads and Kindles, in carry-on baggage on flights to the U.S. The measure will take effect Wednesday, it said.

Royal Jordanian Airlines tweeted Monday that it will ban most electronics from the cabins on its flights to and from its North American destinations. It later deleted its tweet without explanation.

The Amman, Jordan-based carrier said that starting Tuesday it will only allow phones and medical devices to be carried in the cabin of its flights. All other electronics would be "strictly prohibited." The airline cited "concerned U.S. departments" without offering additional explanation.
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