Five Iraqi passengers and one Yemeni have been barred from boarding an EgyptAir flight from Cairo to New York following President Donald Trump’s ban on the entry of citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries, sources at Cairo airport says.
Trump on Friday put a four-month hold on allowing refugees into the United States and temporarily barred travellers from Syria and six other Muslim-majority countries, saying the moves would help protect Americans from terrorist attacks.
The six passengers, bound for John F. Kennedy International Airport on Saturday, were prevented from boarding EgyptAir Flight 985 at Cairo airport despite holding valid immigration visas, the sources said.
The five Iraqis had arrived in transit from Erbil and were being held at the airport until they could be re-boarded on flights back to Iraq, whereas the Yemeni passenger had arrived at the airport from elsewhere in Cairo, they added.
Trump halted the entry of travellers from Syria, Iraq, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen for at least 90 days, saying his administration needed time to develop more stringent screening procedures for refugees, immigrants and other visitors.
A UN refugee agency spokesman said it was not yet known whether the six travellers had been granted visas earlier under the US refugee programme.
Qatar Airways advised passengers bound for the United States on Saturday from seven newly banned majority Muslim countries that they needed to have either a US green card or diplomatic visa.
“Nationals of the following countries: Sudan, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Iran, Iraq, Yemen … may travel to the US only if they are in possession of a permanent resident card (Green card) or any of the below visas,” it said in a statement on its website.
It listed foreign government, United Nations, international organisation and NATO visas.