Jet Alert! Laptop Batteries can be Bombs

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Intel sources fear terrorist can make bombs as small as computer batteries, provoking the ban on carry-on electronics at sensitive foreign airports. Al Qaeda affiliate was perfecting techniques for hiding explosives in batteries and battery compartments of electronic devices, according to a US official.

What happened?

Three intelligence sources told The Daily Beast that the ban on carry-on electronics aboard U.S.-bound flights from 10 airports in North Africa and the Middle East was the result of information seized during a U.S. raid on Al Qaeda in Yemen in January. The United Kingdom joined the U.S. ban Tuesday.

The ban on electronic devices:

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 the United Kingdom to ban devices larger than a cellphone from certain flights, reports say.

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 bans involve some of the widest-reaching aviation security measures taken since the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.

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.

Countries affected:

The UK ban affects six countries, including two not on the US list: Tunisia and Lebanon.

Top international carriers — such as Emirates Airline, Qatar Airways, British Airways and Turkish Airlines — are among those that will have to implement new restrictions.

Air travel remains a priority target for terrorists. And, once more, the mere threat of terror attacks has proved itself as costly, at least in economic impact, as the act of terror.

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Reference: The Daily Beast, CNN

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