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Now Canada's considering a ban on large devices on Middle Eastern flights

Earlier today, the UK government confirmed the new measure, while US reports hinted at a similar ban.

Image: Chris Ison/PA Images

Updated 10.45pm

CANADA IS CONSIDERING prohibiting personal electronics on board flights from Turkey, the Middle East and North Africa after both the US and Britain announced bans today.

“We are looking at the information that has been presented to us, we’ll look at it carefully and have a fulsome discussion amongst our colleagues,” Transportation Minister Marc Garneau told reporters.
“The (threat) information has been provided to us by other intelligence communities.”
The three countries routinely share intelligence, including on terrorism threats, as part of the Five Eyes intelligence gathering alliance.

Garneau said he would discuss this latest possible threat to airlines with Canadian Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale and “we’ll make that public when we make a decision.”

Earlier, the UK government announced a ban on large electronic devices on board flights from some Middle Eastern nations, hours after reports hinted at a similar ban in the US.

Passengers flying directly to Britain from Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia and Turkey will be banned from taking large devices such as laptops and tablets into the plane cabin.

“Our top priority will always be to maintain the safety of British nationals,” a spokesman said.

Egypt Airlines Electronics Ban Source: AP/Press Association Images

The announcement from the US about a large electronics ban was less planned.

A tweet from Saudi Airlines and one, subsequently deleted, by Royal Jordanian airlines informed their customers of an imminent cabin ban on electronic devices larger than a cellphone.

Royal Jordanian said all such devices, including laptops, tablets, cameras, DVD players and electronic games, would need to be checked in under new US government rules coming into force 21 March.

Only cell phones and medical devices needed in-flight would be excluded from the ban, it said. The tweet was later removed amid suggestions the airline had released the information prematurely.

Al-Qaeda threat

CNN quoted a US official as saying the ban was believed to be related to a threat posed by Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, or AQAP.

In a statement, the US Department of Homeland Security said: “We have no comment on potential security precautions, but will provide an update when appropriate.”

According to the Financial Times, which cited a US official, the new rules will concern eight Middle Eastern nations, including Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

The Guardian said the edict, distributed in a confidential email from the US Transportation Safety Administration, would affect 13 nations.

The move would mark the latest attempt by President Donald Trump’s administration to tighten security at US borders, after its bid to curb travel from a group of Muslim majority nations was twice blocked by the courts.

© – AFP 2017

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