Laptop (illustration)
Laptop (illustration)iStock

U.S. Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly on Sunday said he was considering banning laptop computers on international flights into and out of the country amid signs of "a real threat", AFP reported.

The U.S. already has a ban in place on electronic devices bigger than mobile phones on direct flights from 10 airports in seven Middle Eastern countries and Turkey. Recent reports indicated it had been considering expanding the ban to include European flights as well.

Kelly's remarks on Sunday were made during the Memorial Day weekend, one of the busiest travel periods in the United States, and at a time when the bombing at a concert in Manchester, England has raised concerns that further attacks -- possibly involving explosives packed in electronic devices -- may be planned.

"There's a real threat -- numerous threats against aviation," Kelly said when asked about the likelihood a wide-reaching ban on large electronics in airplane cabins could be imposed.

Terrorists are "obsessed" with the idea of "knocking down an airplane in flight -- particularly a U.S. carrier, if it's full of mostly U.S. folks," the homeland security chief said, according to AFP.

He later specified that despite ongoing and persistent concerns, "we have no specific threats right now."

The current ban, announced in march, affects Turkey, Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Morocco.

Britain took similar measures in March targeting a smaller list of countries: Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia and Saudi Arabia.

The bans angered Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who demanded their removal.