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US May Soon Ban Laptops In Cabins On Flights From Europe

(CBS SF) – After banning the use of laptops and tablets on flights from the U.S. and the Middle East, the Department of Homeland Security said it may also restrict the use of laptops on flights from Europe.

According to The Daily Beast, an announcement by the department is expected on Thursday. The website reported that travelers must place laptops into their checked baggage, but it is unclear if the European ban would also apply to tablets.

DHS spokesperson David Lapan said on Twitter on Wednesday that a possible expansion of the ban is "under consideration" and that no final decision has been made.

Lapan said the agency said would also "make changes when necessary" to ensure air traveler safety.

In March, the U.S. and British governments required passengers from 10 Middle Eastern and North African countries to place their laptops in checked baggage, amid fears that terrorists could turn laptops into bombs that could bring down an airplane.

Citing former top Transportation Security Administration officials, CBS News reported that a laptop ban was being discussed for more than a year, after a laptop containing an IED exploded on a Somali airliner in early 2016. A man suspected of being a suicide bomber was killed in the blast.

The ban is not without its critics in the airline industry, who are concerned about lithium ion batteries catching fire in a plane's cargo hold.

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