Over the last 24 hours, reports are coming down the grapevine claiming that five USA diplomats and at least one Canadian envoy have fallen ill, all suffering from acute hearing loss, headaches, and nausea.
USA officials believe a group of American diplomats in Havana suffered severe hearing loss after being exposed to a covert sonic device.
Canada's foreign ministry said Thursday that one Canadian diplomat suffered similar symptoms while serving in Havana in recent months. "The government is actively working, including with US and Cuban authorities, to ascertain the cause".
Some of those affected chose to return to the USA, said Nauert, prompting the administration to expel two Cuban diplomats from the embassy in Washington in May.
The official did not identify a covert weapon as the suspected cause but said ongoing FBI and State Department investigations are looking at the incidents as an attack.
The Cuban government was informed of the incidents in February, the statement said.More news: Pep Guardiola - Manchester City squad won't need big changes in future
She did not say how many USA diplomats were affected or confirm they had suffered hearing loss, saying only that they had "a variety of physical symptoms".
The ministry said it had created an expert committee to analyse the incidents and had reinforced security around the U.S. embassy and USA diplomatic residences.
Spokeswoman Heather Nauert said the first of the attacks, which are said to have caused a variety of physical symptoms, including hearing loss and signs of concussion, occurred in late 2016. But diplomats said that after the United States and Cuba restored full diplomatic ties in 2015, the campaign of harassment stopped.
U.S. state department spokeswoman Heather Nauert says investigations are continuing and stressed that America was not directly blaming Cuba.
Cuba employs a state security apparatus that keeps many people under surveillance and U.S. diplomats are among the most closely monitored people on the island, according to AP.
The statement said Cuba was launching a "comprehensive, priority and urgent investigation".More news: Dolphins rookie Raekwon McMillan injuries knee against Falcons
At least five employees of the US embassy in Havana were subjected to an "acoustic attack" using sonic devices, US State Department officials had said.
Canada is not at the point where it is ready to take reprisals, since the investigation is continuing and it is too early to conclude the Cuban government was behind the incidents.
"The Cuban government has a responsibility and an obligation under the Geneva convention to protect our diplomats", Nauert told reporters, "so that is part of the reason why this is such a major concern of ours".
"Cuba has never permitted, nor will permit, that Cuban territory be used for any action against accredited diplomatic officials or their families, with no exception", a statement from the Cuban Foreign Ministry said.
According to the Associated Press, the diplomats' hearing loss could have been linked to a sound-deafening attack emitted by some kind of sonic device meant for eavesdropping.More news: Bills trade Watkins to Rams; get Matthews from Eagles
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