Revealed: Why Laptop Ban On Flights
Laptop ban on flights ‘is based on intelligence about an ISIS plot to target the West gathered during the raid on Yemen which killed Navy SEAL’. The ban of carry-on electronics on flights was prompted by intelligence gathered about an ISIS plot to target the West, it has been reported. The threat was judged by the US to be ‘substantiated’ and ‘credible’. The US and UK announced restrictions on large electronics in carry-on baggage for direct flights from certain Middle Eastern and North African nations on Tuesday. The move is allegedly based on the suspicion that Islamic State are working on ways to smuggle explosives on to planes by hiding them in electronics. Crucial information was apparently gathered during a raid against Al Qaeda in Yemen in January that killed Navy SEAL ‘Ryan’ Owens. The intelligence centered around al Qaeda’s ‘successful development’ of compact battery bombs that fit inside laptops or other devices, sources claimed. The battery bombs would need to be manually triggered which is why the electronics ban is only for cabin luggage not baggage that is checked in, a source told the Daily Beast. Al Qaeda’s head bomb maker in the Arabian Peninsula, Ibrahim al-Asiri, has been working on hiding bombs in even smaller devices, the source added. Lithium batteries ignited and destroyed UPS Flight 6 in September 2010, killing two crew members when it crashed near Dubai – providing inspiration for the terrorist group. The tip-off was deemed to be ‘substantiated’ and ‘credible’ by the US. Two attacks on flights in the last two years were cited by the US Department of Homeland Security – the crash of a Russian jet over the Egyptian Sinai in October 2015 and a failed attempt to bring down a jet that had taken off from Mogadishu, Somalia last year.
The jet made an emergency landing after insurgent group Al-Shababb reportedly got a laptop onboard the flight that had been rigged as a bomb and tore apart its cabin. ‘Since they weren’t high enough, the explosion wasn’t catastrophic to the plane and they were able to land,’ one source told The Daily Beast. ‘The bomber got sucked out of the hole, but it was proof of concept.’ Eric Swalwell, a Democratic member of the House Intelligence Committee, told ABC News there was ‘a new aviation threat’. ‘We know that our adversaries, terrorist groups in the United States and outside the United States, seek to bring down a US-bound airliner,’ he said. ‘That’s one of their highest value targets. And we’re doing everything we can right now to prevent that from happening.’ The countries included in the ban were selected due to their exposure to Al Qaeda groups and members who might try to bring a battery bomb on a plane heading for the US, a third source claimed. Meanwhile, ABC reports claimed the airports affected by the ban were not directly named in the most recent threat intelligence gathered by authorities.
They claimed the list was based on intelligence analysis paired with other government information. The US names more countries in its list, applying the new restrictions on flights coming from international airports in Amman, Jordan; Kuwait City, Kuwait; Cairo,Egypt; Istanbul, Turkey; Jeddah and Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; Casablanca, Morocco; Doha, Qatar; and Dubai and Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates. The UK ban applies more simply to incoming flights from Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia and Saudi Arabia. America’s Department of Homeland Security was the first to announce the decision, saying that passengers on airlines flying directly to the US from 10 airports in eight countries will soon only be allowed to bring cellphones on board with them. Other electronics, including laptops and tablets, will be indefinitely banned from the passenger cabin, and must be checked in checked baggage if they are brought on the plane at all. The new restrictions are based on ‘evaluated intelligence’ that terrorist groups are working on ‘innovative methods’ for attacks. Officials didn’t elaborate on the intelligence but CNN reports that Al Qaeda in the Arab Peninsula (AQAP) is specifically the cause for the changes.The British government added legitimacy to the concerns by following through with their similar ban. The British and American bans differ in which countries they target, how they are implemented and their definition of a large electronic. When asked by the BBC why the US list of nations differs from the UK’s, a spokesman for Prime Minister Theresa May said: ‘We have each taken our own decisions.’