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Cuba says it can't uncover cause of 'sonic attacks' on US diplomats

Cuba's foreign ministry said Sunday that it has not uncovered the cause of mysterious health symptoms that affected a...

Posted: Jun 11, 2018 11:05 AM
Updated: Jun 11, 2018 11:05 AM

Cuba's foreign ministry said Sunday that it has not uncovered the cause of mysterious health symptoms that affected an official of the US embassy in Havana last month and characterized the United States' decision to withdraw personnel posted there as "politically motivated."

In a statement, the Cuban ministry said officials launched an investigation after learning an employee had "reported health symptoms as a result of 'undefined sound' in her place of residence." According to the statement, authorities could not find the source of the sound.

"After more than a year of research by the specialized agencies and experts from Cuba and the United States, it is confirmed that there is no credible hypothesis or conclusions adhered to science that justify the actions taken by the government of the United States against Cuba to the detriment of the bilateral relationship and with obvious political motivations," the statement said.

The Cuban response comes after the US withdrew two more people from the US embassy in Havana, Cuba, due to health concerns, according to a senior State Department official.

The individuals in the "potentially new cases" of a mystery illness that has plagued embassy employees have undergone medical evaluations and were not yet "medically confirmed," the official said.

In the past, some officials have characterized the incidents at the embassy as "sonic attacks" or "acoustic attacks" because they have often coincided with a high-pitched sound. US officials have detailed how personnel in Cuba came to experience a variety of symptoms including sharp ear pain, headaches, ringing in one ear, vertigo, disorientation, attention issues and signs consistent with mild traumatic brain injury or concussion.

CNN reported earlier this week a number of US personnel in China have been sent back to the United States for further health screenings after concerns over reports of mysterious acoustic incidents similar to the Cuba "sonic attacks."

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced the formation of a task force in response to "unexplained health incidents" affecting US diplomats and their family members.

A study earlier this year outlined the extensiveness of the problem, but the State Department has not pointed to a specific cause behind the mysterious incidents.

The Associated Press was first to report the possible new cases in Cuba

The US government began withdrawing diplomats from its embassy after embassy personnel began to report hearing strange noises and experiencing a string of similar medical symptoms in late 2016.

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