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US bans large electronic devices on flights from some Mideast countries

Royal Jordanian Airlines pointed out in a tweet that medical devices were excluded from the ban. (File photo: Reuters)

DUBAI:  The US government is ordering passengers on nonstop, US-bound flights from a handful of Middle Eastern and North African countries to pack electronic devices other than cellphones in their checked baggage.

Senior Trump administration officials said that starting Tuesday morning airlines flying directly to the United States from 10 airports in eight countries could allow only cellphones and smartphones in carry-on bags, the Associated Press reported.

The order was sent out in an e-mail from the US Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) on Monday.

The ban involves any device larger than a mobile phone, including cameras, laptops and tablets, The Guardian reported Monday.

The policy is set to be announced in full on Tuesday but Saudi and Jordanian airlines are thought to be among the affected as they released notifications to fliers late Monday.

The UK is due to announce a similar move with different restrictions from the US Department of Homeland Security's ban, according the BBC.

Royal Jordanian Airlines pointed out in a tweet that medical devices were excluded from the ban but said everything else would need to be packed into checked luggage.

“Following instructions from the concerned US departments, we kindly inform our dearest passengers departing to and arriving from the United States that carrying any electronic or electrical device on board the flight cabins is strictly prohibited,” the airline tweeted. “Prohibited devices, including for instance laptops, tablets, cameras, DVD players and electronic games … etc, can be carried in the checked baggage only.”

Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs also released new guidelines to fliers traveling to the US, stating that they should not carry laptops or tablets in their hand luggage.

The reason behind the ban is unclear but on Monday, a US official told Reuters that it followed a “terrorism threat.”

According to the official, no American carriers are impacted by the ban.