US authorities are planning to ban passengers travelling on certain US-bound foreign airline flights from carrying larger electronic devices into the cabin, in response to an unspecified terrorism threat.
The new rule is expected to be announced today by the Department of Homeland Security, officials said, adding that it had been under consideration since the US government learned of a threat several weeks ago.
A source said the rule would cover nearly a dozen foreign airlines. A separate government official confirmed that the ban will impact 10 airports in eight countries in the Middle East and North Africa.
Reuters reported earlier that the ban would include airlines based in Jordan and Saudi Arabia. The officials did not name the other countries.
The officials said no American carriers were affected by the ban, which would apply to devices larger than a mobile phone, and none travel directly to the airports impacted from US cities.
Passengers would be allowed to carry larger devices in their checked luggage like tablets, portable DVD players, laptops, and cameras.
Royal Jordanian Airlines RJAL.AM said in a tweet that US-bound passengers would be barred from carrying most electronic devices aboard aircraft starting Tuesday at the request of US officials, including those that transit through Canada. Passengers can still carry mobile phones and approved medical devices.
Al Riyadh newspaper, which is close to the Saudi government, reported that the civil aviation authority had informed "airlines flying from the kingdom's (Saudi) airports to US airports of the latest measures from US security agencies in which passengers must store laptops and tablets" in checked in baggage.
The newspaper quoted a civil aviation authority source as saying that these measures from senior US authorities were relayed to the Saudi interior ministry.
Saudia Airlines confirmed in a tweet that US transportation authorities had barred carrying larger electronic devices in cabin luggage.
The White House declined to comment.
A spokesman for the US Department of Homeland Security, David Lapan, said the agency had no comment on potential security precautions, but will provide an update when appropriate.
Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly called congressional lawmakers this weekend to notify them of the plan, congressional aides said.
In July 2014, the Homeland Security Department stepped up security of US-bound flights, requiring tougher screening of mobile phones and other electronic devices and requiring them to be powered up before passengers could board flights to the United States.