'Sonic attack' leads U.S. to expel two Cuban diplomats

US government personnel in Havana report

Cuba has reacted to the expulsion of two of its diplomats based in Washington by promising an investigation into allegations that some unspecified "incidents" have caused physical symptoms in Americans serving at the U.S. Embassy in Havana.

Two Cuban diplomats have since been expelled from the U.S, confirmed State Department officials on Wednesday, although specific details surrounding the incident remain vague.

She characterized the incidents as non-life threatening, however, there is an FBI and Diplomatic Security Service investigation into what occurred over the past few months. Further U.S. action could follow if that investigation points to Cuban government targeting of U.S. employees, officials said.

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

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

According to the Canadian national broadcaster, the government is working with Cuban authorities to determine what happened.

After months of investigation, USA 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.

The unexplained symptoms ultimately led the US officials to leave Cuba.

No children were affected, but at least some of the adults who were are believed to have suffered permanent hearing loss, according to the officials.

A State Department spokesperson said the USA has reminded the Cuban government of its obligation to protect diplomats under the Vienna Convention, CBS Radio reported.

Meanwhile, on Fox News Channel's Special Report, Anchor Bret Baier delivered a news brief on the developing story.

The foreign ministry said it had started a "comprehensive, priority and urgent investigation" into the alleged incidents after it had been informed of them by the United States embassy in February.

However, officials familiar with the probe said investigators were looking into the possibilities that the incidents were carried out by a third country such as Russian Federation, possibly operating without the knowledge of Cuba's formal chain of command.

The U.S. first learned of the issues at the embassy in late 2016, she said.

"Personal harm to USA officials shows the extent the Castro regime will go and clearly violates global norms".

"The Ministry categorically emphasizes that Cuba has never, nor would it ever, allow that the Cuban territory be used for any action against accredited diplomatic agents or their families, without exception".

"Some of our people have had the option of leaving Cuba as a result, for medical reasons", she said.

President Donald Trump, who made it clear he opposed the Obama administration's "détente" with the Castro regime during his 2016 campaign, had already scaled back many of his predecessor's diplomatic overtures.

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