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By Ted Goodman
The Trump administration officially issued travel restrictions Tuesday in response to new intelligence indicating terrorist groups have “intensified” efforts to attack the aviation sector.
“Our information indicates that terrorist groups’ efforts to execute an attack against the aviation sector are intensifying,” the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) asserted in a Tuesday press release.
The policy restricts passengers from bringing electronic devices larger than a cell phone on board an aircraft flying to the United States from 10 airports located in eight majority-Muslim countries. The new policy went into effect 3:00 a.m. ET, and airlines have 96 hours to adhere to the new restrictions.
Royal Jordanian, which operates flights from Jordan’s capital city of Amman to New York, Chicago and Detroit, alerted its passengers of the incoming ban before the restrictions were announced, but quickly deleted the tweet.
— Caroline Kere (@carolinekere) March 21, 2017
DHS left open the possibility of adding airports to the list, asserting that it will respond based on new intelligence. (REPORT: U.S. Bans Passengers Of Middle Eastern Airlines From Bringing Electronics On Planes)
The ban applies to: Queen Alia International Airport, Cairo International Airport, Ataturk International Airport, King Abdul-Aziz International Airport, King Khalid International Airport, Kuwait International Airport, Mohammed V Airport, Hamad International Airport, Dubai International Airport, and Abu Dhabi International Airport.
The aviation sector is under constant threat from terrorist groups, because of the ability to inflict a mass-causality event and the widespread media attention that follows.
Specifically, CNN reported Tuesday that the intelligence “indicates terrorist groups continue to target commercial aviation” by “smuggling explosive devices in various consumer items.”
Authorities cited the 2015 airliner downing in Egypt, the 2016 attempted airliner downing in Somalia, and the 2016 attacks against airports in Brussels and Istanbul as examples of terror-related incidents involving aviation targets.
Officials also cited the Christmas Day 2009 incident, when Nigerian student Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab attempted, but failed, to detonate an explosive device hidden in his underwear.
British authorities announced similar measures shortly after the United States, citing new intelligence.