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U.S. to ban some airline passengers from carrying larger electronics

By David Shepardson and Mark Hosenball

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. authorities are planning to ban passengers traveling on certain U.S.-bound foreign airline flights from carrying into the cabin larger electronic devices in response to an unspecified terrorism threat, U.S. officials told Reuters on Monday.

The new rule is expected to be announced as early as Monday by the Department of Homeland Security, the officials said, adding that it had been under consideration since the U.S. government learned of a threat several weeks ago.

A source said the rule would cover nearly a dozen foreign airlines. A separate government official confirmed an Associated Press report that the ban will impact 10 airports in eight countries in the Middle East and North Africa. Reuters reported earlier the ban would include airlines based in Jordan and Saudi Arabia. The officials did not name the other countries.

The officials said no American carriers were affected by the ban, which would apply to devices larger than a cell phone, and none travel directly to the airports impacted from U.S. cities Passengers would be allowed to carry larger devices in their checked luggage like tablets, portable DVD players, laptops and cameras.

Royal Jordanian Airlines said in a tweet on Monday that U.S.-bound passengers would be barred from carrying most electronic devices aboard aircraft starting Tuesday at the request of U.S. officials, including those that transit through Canada. Passengers can still carry cell phones and approved medical devices.

Al Riyadh newspaper, which is close to the Saudi government, reported that the civil aviation authority had informed “airlines flying from the kingdom’s (Saudi) airports to U.S. airports of the latest measures from U.S. security agencies in which passengers must store laptops and tablets” in checked in baggage.

Al Riyadh quoted a civil aviation authority source as saying that these measures from senior U.S. authorities were relayed to the Saudi interior…

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