iPad bomb plot led to US, UK ban tech devices on flights

Though both the US and the UK have banned electronic devices larger than a smartphone that passengers may carry on board a flight in the cabin, no official reason had been given for the ban.

The ban on flights from eight mainly Middle Eastern and North African countries  is reported to have been sparked by intelligence gathered overseas.

Now, according to a new report from The Guardian, which cited a source, this was apparently due to the discovery of a plot that aimed at bringing down a plane with explosives, hidden inside of a fake iPad.

According to commentators, the reason behind the ban did not come as a surprise, because back in 2016, there was an incident in which bombs were hidden inside a laptop and detonated on a Somali passenger jet.

So far only the US and UK have enacted these bans, but according to The Guardian, France was also considering a ban. However, a decision was yet to be taken. Also the Dutch and Australian governments stated that they were monitoring the situation but had no plans for a ban at the moment.

Intelligence agencies had said that terrorists could hide explosives in batteries for laptops and tablets. "Evaluated intelligence indicates that terrorist groups are aggressively pursuing a variety of methods to undertake their attacks, to include smuggling explosive devices in various consumer items including electronics," a US Transportation Security Administration spokeswoman said in a statement to CNET.

The restrictions were announced by the Department of Homeland Security on 20 March.

The US order applies to eight countries - Egypt, Turkey, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Qatar, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates, while the UK followed with similar restrictions the next day against six countries - Egypt, Turkey, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia and Lebanon.