WASHINGTON - An Al-Qaeda affiliate is honing its methods for hiding explosives in electronic devices, CNN reported, citing a US official.
The Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) is looking to exploit batteries and their compartments in laptops and other commercial electronic devices, the unnamed official told CNN.
The discovery prompted the United States and Britain to ban devices larger than a smartphone from the cabins on certain flights from countries in the Middle East and, for the US, North Africa.
In a Reuters report, US officials said militant groups are known for innovative bomb designs, including embedding the explosives inside computers.
The Yemen-based AQAP has also boasted of one of the world’s most feared bomb makers, Ibrahim Hassan al-Asiri.
The AQAP has plotted to down US airliners and claimed responsibility for the 2015 attacks on the office of Charlie Hebdo magazine in Paris.
US authorities believe there is a threat from plots similar to an incident last year in Somalia, where a bomb hidden in a laptop blew a hole in the side of a plane but failed to down it, Reuters quoted a source as saying.
An aviation official also informed CNN that he was told first hand by an intelligence official that this electronics ban was not a "political move" by the Trump administration.