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Uncharged mobile ban goes global: Now phones and laptops will not be allowed on flights to destinations around world unless fully charged

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  • Ministers announced checks on electronic devices will be expanded
  • From now on checks will apply to passengers flying both in and out of UK
  • Flights involved include those to and from the Middle East and East Africa
  • Escalation understood to be based on intelligence from the U.S.
A dramatic escalation of airport anti-terror checks on electronic gadgets was announced by ministers last night.

Tests on mobile phones, laptops and tablets that had been limited to passengers flying to the US will now be massively expanded to cover destinations around the world.

This is understood to affect hundreds more flights to and from the Middle East and volatile parts of Africa and Asia, including popular summer holiday destinations such as Egypt.
However, because neither airlines nor transport officials will confirm which routes are included, every single passenger must assume their gadgets will be checked, and act accordingly.

Travellers will have to prove their electronic devices – some with a notoriously short battery life – are working normally, following fears that terrorists could pack the battery compartments with explosives.

The development, which comes at the start of the summer holiday season, is based on US intelligence amid fears of an attack by Islamist extremists.

 

Security officials are concerned that a booby-trapped electronic device could be smuggled onto a plane and used as a bomb by Yemen-based Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula or the Islamist Nusra Front, Al Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria.

In 2009, Yemen-linked explosives expert Ibrahim al-Asiri was behind a similar plot and built an ‘underwear bomb’, used in a failed attempt to bring down a plane from Amsterdam bound for Detroit.

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