U.S. and Canadian diplomats serving in Havana have been injured in a mysterious sonic attack that has caused hearing loss.
Sonic attacks in Cuba hit more diplomats than earlier reported.
A higher number of US and Canadian diplomats and their families are believed to have been attacked by a mystery sonic weapon in Havana than was initially reported.
More than 10 US diplomats and family members received treatment after the months of harassing attacks, which began in mid-November 2016 and stopped this spring.
Two US diplomats who were treated in the United States suffered long-term injuries including hearing loss as a result of the attacks and were unable to return to Cuba. Additional diplomats opted to leave their assignments in Cuba early, as a result of the harassment.
State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said despite the incidents and staffing changes, the US Embassy in Havana is “fully operational.”
In June, five Canadian diplomats and family members reported experiencing symptoms consistent with the attacks, which would mean further attacks were carried out at the same time Cuban officials were investigating the incidents.
“We are aware of unusual symptoms affecting Canadian and US diplomatic personnel and their families in Havana. The government is actively working — including with US and Cuban authorities — to ascertain the cause.”
In some of the attacks a sophisticated sonic weapon that operated outside the range of audible sound was deployed either inside or outside the residences of US diplomats living in Havana.
The weapon caused immediate physical sensations including nausea, headaches and hearing loss. Other attacks made a deafeningly loud sound similar to the buzzing created by insects or metal scraping across a floor, but the source of the sound could not be identified.
Some of the diplomats were attacked by the mystery weapon late at night in their homes while they were asleep.
For months the United States and Cuba secretly discussed the attacks. Even the US decision in May to expel two Cuban diplomats working in the United States to protest the attacks was kept from the public.
“We hold the Cuban authorities responsible for finding out who is carrying out these health attacks on not just our diplomats but, as you’ve seen now, there are other cases with other diplomats involved.”
This summer, Cuba took the unusual step of allowing FBI agents and members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police to travel to Cuba to investigate the attacks, and Cuba has increased security around diplomats’ residences.
Investigators are seeking to determine whether operatives from a country with an adversarial relationship to the United States, such as Russia, China, North Korea, Venezuela or Iran. The extent of Cuba’s involvement is also a mystery.
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