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The ban, which will be phased in over the coming days, will affect travellers on direct flights to the UK from the popular holiday destination of Turkey, two north African countries – Egypt and Tunisia – and three Middle Eastern states: Lebanon, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia.

Passengers will be banned from taking large electronic devices into the aircraft cabin, such as laptops, iPads, Kindles and Nintendo 3DS game consoles. Portable DVD players will also be banned.

The move, which is the biggest clampdown on airline security since the 2006 liquids ban, was ordered by Theresa May yesterday following talks with security officials. It follows weeks of discussions with the US security agencies about the growing threat of a laptop bomb.

The PM’s official spokesman declined to comment on the precise reason for the clampdown, but added: ‘The safety and security of the travelling public are our highest priority.’ In February last year a bomb concealed in a laptop blew a hole in the side of an aircraft in Somalia.

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