Speed Reads

bizarre

Officials say there's a very strange reason behind U.S. diplomats returning early from Cuba

Several U.S. diplomats had to leave Havana last year after they mysteriously started to lose their hearing, and officials said an advanced sonic weapon is to blame, The Associated Press reports.

The hearing loss began in the fall of 2016, after the U.S. and Cuba re-established diplomatic relations and the embassy in Havana reopened. The U.S. launched an investigation and determined that the diplomats had been attacked by a weapon that operated outside the range of audible sound and was covertly placed either inside or outside their homes, AP reports. Five diplomats were affected. The U.S. responded by expelling two Cuban diplomats from their Washington embassy on May 23, State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said, adding that there is no certain explanation for the incidents.

In Cuba, diplomats live in housing owned and maintained by the Cuban government, and they are under surveillance by the country's state security. Officials told AP that investigators are also looking into the possibility that a third party operating without Cuba's knowledge, like Russia, could have deployed the weapons. Cuban officials declined to comment on the report.