16 Americans affected by health attacks in Cuba: State Department
The United States has claimed that at least 16 Americans serving at the US Embassy in Havana experienced symptoms from mysterious attacks on their health in Cuba, Press TV reported.
"We can confirm that at least 16 US government employees, members of our embassy community, have experienced some kind of symptoms," Heather Nauert, a spokeswoman for the State Department, told reporters on Thursday in Washington, DC.
"They have been provided medical treatment in the United States, as well as in Cuba,” she added.
Earlier this month, the State Department expelled two diplomats from the Cuban Embassy in Washington, DC, saying the expulsions were in response to a series of attacks on US diplomats in Havana with a covert sonic weapon.
US officials said that the embassy personnel appeared to have been affected by the attacks in which a covert sonic weapon was allegedly used. The alleged device was planted either in or near the diplomats' residences, according to The Associated Press.
Nauert said Thursday that investigators could not determine yet the real reason behind incidents but stated the US takes them "very seriously".
"We take this situation extremely seriously," Nauert said.
She also said that Cuba is cooperating with the US investigation.
Cuba has denied any wrongdoing on its part, and is carrying out its own investigation into the matter.
"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," the Cuban Foreign Ministry said in a statement earlier this month.
Former US President Barack Obama re-established diplomatic relations with Havana in 2015 and loosened some restrictions on doing business in the country during his tenure in the White House.
During last year’s presidential campaign, Donald Trump threatened to “terminate” deals that the Obama administration made with Cuba.
President Trump is now reportedly considering sanctions against Cuba in a bid to scale back Obama’s policy shift towards the southern neighbor.