USA says two Cuban diplomats expelled after 'incidents' in Havana

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Multiple State Department employees returned home from the United States embassy in Cuba late past year after suffering a variety of physical symptoms, the State Department said a news briefing Wednesday.

The Associated Press reported that a U.S. investigation determined that the American diplomats' hearing loss could have been linked to sonic devices which emit inaudible sound waves that can cause deafness.

The matter had also resulted in the US expulsion of two Cuban diplomats from Washington in late May.

After months of investigation, U.S. officials concluded that the diplomats had been attacked with an advanced sonic weapon that operated outside the range of audible sound and had been deployed either inside or outside their residences.

According to a report from the Associated Press Cuban government officials placed damaging sonogram devices either in or around the embassy, seemingly with the intention of making us diplomats go deaf.

Workers outside the U.S Embassy in Havana. She also added that the government was taking the issue "very seriously, and an investigation is now under way". "And, as result of that, we have asked two Cubans to leave the United States and they have".

The United States said it had expelled two Washington-based Cuban diplomats in May after unspecified "incidents" caused physical symptoms in Americans serving at the U.S. Embassy in Havana that an unnamed official said included hearing loss.

After months of investigation, US officials concluded that the diplomats had been attacked with an advanced sonic weapon that operated outside the range of audible sound and had been deployed either inside or outside their residence, the Associated Press reported.

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Some staff are said to have had such severe symptoms that they were forced to return to the US.

A USA government official said several colleagues at the United States embassy in Havana were evacuated back to the U.S. for hearing problems and other symptoms over the past six months.

She said two Cuban diplomats were expelled from Washington in retaliation in late May. Last year, the outgoing Obama administration reopened the U.S. embassy in Havana after more than half a century, the most significant in a series of steps toward restoring diplomatic relations between the countries, which collapsed during the Cold War.

"We don't know exactly what...what this requires is providing medical examinations to these people", Nauert said.

U.S. officials told The Associated Press that about five diplomats, several with spouses, had been affected and that no children had been involved.

The incident threatens to set back relations between the two countries, which President Barack Obama took major strides to fix in 2015.

The State Department also reportedly reminded Cuba of its agreement from the Vienna Convention to protect foreign diplomats.

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