Terrorists may now be using laptops to conceal bombs that could evade airport security, US security intel sources say.
New government analysis suggests that terrorist groups like ISIS and al-Qaeda have developed innovative ways to plant bombs in electronic devices, CNN reports.
US intelligence believe terrorists are testing the effectiveness of their hidden explosives using commonly used airport security equipment.
The bombs are possibly being built into laptops in a way that allows the devices to contain enough power to briefly power on and fool security screeners.
The intelligence was one of the reasons behind the Trump administration’s recent decision to ban large electronics in carry-on baggage for direct flights from certain Middle Eastern and North African nations.
America’s Department of Homeland Security announced on March 21 that passengers on airlines flying directly to the U.S. from 10 airports in eight countries will only be allowed to bring cellphones on board with them.
Other electronics, including laptops and tablets, will be indefinitely banned from the passenger cabin, and must be checked in checked baggage if they are brought on the plane at all.
Checked bags are forced to undergo stronger security detection.
The British government added legitimacy to the concerns by following through with their similar ban.
‘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 said.
‘The U.S. government continually re-assesses existing intelligence and collects new intelligence. This allows DHS and TSA to constantly evaluate our aviation security processes and policies and make enhancements when they are deemed necessary to keep passengers safe.
‘As always, all air travelers are subject to a robust security system that employs multiple layers of security, both seen and unseen.’
The new carry on restrictions come a little more than a year after the bombing of Daallo Airlines Flight 159, a flight from Somalia to Djibouti.
The bombing took out a piece of the plane a little more than a row, but only resulted in the death of the bomber and two other injuries. It was believed that the bomb was rigged to a timer device on the bomber’s laptop.
The flight had been delayed by 20 minutes, so it was believed that the timing of the bomb was premature and may have been intended to occur about halfway through the flight.