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U.S. Imposes Electronics Ban on Flights from Major Middle Eastern and African Airports

The U.S. has banned laptops, tablets and other electronic devices in the cabins of flights to the U.S. from nine airlines operating in parts of North Africa and the Middle East. The indefinite ban will affect more than 50 flights from 10 airports in the mainly Muslim countries, including major hubs such as Dubai and Istanbul.

Top international carriers—like Emirates Airline, Qatar Airways and Turkish Airlines—are among those that will have 96 hours to implement the ban, which affects devices larger than a cellphone ― including cameras, DVD players and electronic games.

If the airlines don’t comply with the order within the 96-hour time frame, “we will work with the FAA to pull their certificate and they will not be allowed to fly to the United States,” one senior U.S. official said. Officials referred to the attack at Istanbul Ataturk Airport that killed 45 people last June in justifying the electronics ban. They declined to say whether they’d uncovered new information that led to the tightened rules.

The new ban also supersedes a Federal Aviation Administration warning that lithium batteries in many electronics posed a fire risk when stored with checked baggage in a plane’s hold.

The ban involves some of the widest reaching aviation security measures taken since the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.  As of yet, there has been no official response from leaders of the affected nations or heads of the affected airlines.

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