Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) and Al-Qaeda are reportedly testing explosive devices that can pass through airport security screening concealed in a laptop or any other electronic device which is large enough. Terrorists might have gained access to airport scanners to test the advanced technology, according to US intelligence officials cited by CNN.
“As a matter of policy, we do not publicly discuss specific intelligence information. However, evaluated intelligence indicates that terrorist groups continue to target commercial aviation, to include smuggling explosive devices in electronics,” the Department of Homeland Security told CNN in a statement.
Bomb-makers are able to modify accumulators for devices, using common household tools, FBI information indicates.
Intelligence gathered in recent months has reportedly played a key role in the Trump administration’s airline electronics ban aboard direct flights from airports in several mainly Muslim countries. The US Department of Homeland Security expressed its concerns over commercial aviation being targeted following the announcement of the measure.
The UK has adopted additional security measures for direct flights from six countries – Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia, and Saudi Arabia – forbidding passengers to take on board any device larger than 16cm in length, 9.3cm in width, and 1.5cm in depth. Washington’s ban applies to US-bound flights from 10 international airports of eight countries – the six above-mentioned countries, as well as Morocco and the United Arab Emirates.
The move has sparked outrage on social media, leading airlines to come up with ways to make it up to their customers. Qatar Airways and Etihad Airways now loan out laptops and tablets on US-bound flights free of charge.
A laptop bomb is believed to have caused the explosion on the Daallo Airlines flight, travelling from Somalia to Djibouti in February 2016. The blast made a hole in the Airbus A321 fuselage, but the plane managed to make an emergency landing.