As per the US sources, the al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula has been devising ways to sneak/smuggle explosives in laptop batteries, battery compartments, and other commercial electronic devices. This has led the United States and the United Kingdom to introduce a ban on electronic devices larger than cell phones in certain inbound flights, according to The Guardian.
The new security restrictions were announced on Tuesday and require Middle East and North Africa based airlines to inhibit passengers flying from eight countries to carry any device bigger than a smartphone in the passenger cabin. Instead, these electronic devices will be stored in the cargo hold section of the airplane.
A democratic member of the House Intelligence Committee told ABC News that this ban follows a new aviation threat and is not a hoax or a political measure. He said, "We know that our adversaries, terrorist groups in the United States and outside the United States, seek to bring down a US-bound airliner. That's one of their highest value targets. And we're doing everything we can right now to prevent that from happening."
The origin of the tip-off is not known but it may have been passed by a human informant or realised by an intercepted discussion of an extremist plot in progress. Rep. John Katko, R-New York says that the ban is based on credible and substantial intelligence information. "There's no question this is the right move", he added.
The US ban will affect inbound flights on nine airlines operating out of ten airports in eight countries, mainly Muslim countries, including Dubai and Instanbul. The UK ban will affect direct inbound flights from six countries.
Some of the top international carriers like British Airways, Qatar Airways, Emirates Airline, and Turkish Airline are among those that will be implementing these new security restrictions.
While the US hasn't defined any size or parameters except a few examples of the items (laptops, cameras, tablets, e-readers, portable DVD players, electronic game units larger than a smartphone, and travel printers/scanners) that will not be allowed in hand luggage, UK has stated clear parameters of the electronic items that will need to be checked in with the luggage.
The UK aviation rules have mentioned that "nothing bigger than 16cm (6.3ins) long, 9.3cm (3.6ins) wide or 1.5cm (0.6ins) deep will be allowed into the cabin - which means mobiles like the larger iPhone Plus will still be allowed."
The aviation officials were asked to enforce this security restriction within 96 hours of the ban announcement.
The airlines that will be affected by the US decision have been given a deadline of 07.00 GMT on Saturday, to impose the ban. The ban will continue to exist until further announcement.