ISIS is developing new generation of explosives that could be hidden in computers and evade airport scanners
The United States says that ISIS is believed to be working on a sophisticated new bomb that could be hidden in laptop computers and are capable of evading airport detectors.
The assessment was made following an examination of evidence left behind by ISIS fighters after they were overrun from their position at University of Mosul in northern Iraq this past January.
After Iraqi special forces recaptured the area from ISIS, it was learned that ISIS used the university and its equipment and labs to develop deadlier bombs, according to CBS News.
The ‘new generation’ of explosives are believed to be more powerful and capable of evading detection with scanners typically used at airports, according to US officials.
ISIS bomb makers reportedly tested the new explosives by using the airport scanners that they took from the Mosul airport after the jihadist group overran the city in 2014.
After ISIS was routed by Iraqi troops in January, the group reportedly burned many of the buildings it left behind so as to conceal evidence.
But US officials told CBS News that ISIS fighters left behind enough evidence to give them pause.
Officials’ belief that jihadists are developing more sophisticated explosives is apparently what motivated Western governments – led by the US – to seriously consider instituting a ban on laptops for all flights from Europe and the Middle East.
Talks on a proposed US ban on laptops and tablets on flights coming from Europe ended Wednesday with no ban – and a promise of more talks and better intelligence sharing.
For days now, European Union officials have been hoping for details on the threat that prompted the proposed ban – the same details that US President Donald Trump discussed with Russian diplomats at the White House last week.
The airline industry came out against the proposal in a strongly worded letter that said it would cause a severe downturn in trans-Atlantic air travel and cost travelers more than a billion dollars in lost time.
On Wednesday, in a secure room in Brussels, officials from the US Department of Homeland Security and the European Union swapped information about threats involving air travel.
An official who followed the talks said the ban was ‘off the table’ for now. He spoke on condition of anonymity to release details of the sensitive negotiations.
They also shared details about their aviation security standards and detection capabilities, and agreed to meet again in Washington next week ‘to further assess shared risks and solutions for protecting airline passengers, whilst ensuring the smooth functioning of global air travel,’ according to a joint statement.
The White House has defended Trump’s decision to share classified information involving an Islamic State group terror threat related to the use of laptops on aircraft with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Russian Ambassador to the US Sergey Kislyak.
The proposed electronics ban would create logistical chaos on the world’s busiest air travel corridor. As many as 65 million people a year travel between Europe and North America on nearly 400 daily flights, many of them business travelers who rely on the devices to work during flight.
Such a ban would dwarf in size the current one, which was put in place in March and affects about 50 flights a day from 10 cities, mostly in the Middle East.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA), which represents 265 airlines, wrote to both the EU and the US State Department on Tuesday to oppose the proposed ban, which it said would deeply affect the economy and cause the equivalent of $1.1billion in lost time to passengers.
There is also the question of the relative safety of keeping a large number of electronics with lithium batteries, which have been known to catch fire, in the cargo area.
IATA proposed more in-depth pre-flight screening rather than forcing passengers to give up their electronics.
Source: Daily Mail