The recent US-UK ban of electronic devices on flights from certain countries was inspired by an alleged plot involving explosives hidden in a fake iPad.
A previously undisclosed plan to take down a plane using a phony tablet, as reported by The Guardian , confirmed fears that Islamist groups are becoming more adept at evading detection.
Further details of the operation-the date, the country involved, responsible party-were not revealed.
In an effort to curb continued attacks on commercial aviation, the US Transportation Safety Administration last week updated its international policy regarding carry-on items. The TSA now prohibits electronic devices larger than a cell phone onboard flights out of 10 airports in the Middle East and North Africa.
That means passengers must check laptops, tablets, e-readers, cameras, portable DVD players, and portable game units-i.e. everything you need to make an overseas flight bearable.
The same goes for selected inbound flights to the United Kingdom from Turkey, Lebanon, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Tunisia.
“Terrorist groups … are aggressively pursuing innovative methods to undertake their attacks,” the Department of Homeland Security said in an announcement.
“We understand the frustration [the additional security measures] will cause, but our top priority will always be to maintain the safety of British nationals,” the UK government added.
Citing an unnamed security source, The Guardian said both bans “were not the result of a single specific incident but a combination of factors,” including the faux-iPad plot.
As the newspaper pointed out, concealing explosives in the cabin area can do more damage than storing a bomb in the hold, where it may be tucked between other luggage, away from the skin of the aircraft.
Other countries, including France, are reportedly considering a similar ban, but have not yet implemented any new rules. The Netherlands, Belgium, and Australia, meanwhile, will monitor the new arrangement but have no immediate plans to follow suit.