Tension mounts between Cuba and the US

US to expel nearly two-thirds of Cuban embassy staff US sources

The Cuban national flag is seen raised over their new embassy in Washingt

Days earlier, Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez had pleaded with Tillerson not to take such a step.

The Cuban government has been transparent throughout the entire investigation and even allowed United States officials to enter the island, a very unusual step, the analyst concluded.

In Havana, U.S. diplomats have been frantically selling off their belongings at garage sales and on social media. The US had previously given all embassy staff the option to come home, but even most of those struck by the mysterious attacks had opted to stay, individuals familiar with the situation said.

He said at a press conference in Havana that his government fulfils all its obligations toward foreign envoys.

The U.S. State Department said: "Because our personnel's safety is at risk and we are unable to identify the source of the attacks, we believe U.S. citizens may also be at risk and warn them not to travel to Cuba".

It wasn't until USA spies, posted to the embassy under diplomatic cover, reported hearing freaky sounds and experiencing even stranger physical effects that the United States realized something was wrong, individuals familiar with the situation said.

The global press should insist that the diplomats and undercover intelligence operatives allegedly injured be made available for questions, Pertierra recommended.

The staffing cuts marked an escalation in the USA response to unexplained attacks that began almost a year ago and have harmed at least 22 Americans - including one identified this week.

The State Department told Cuba on Tuesday to withdraw more than half of its diplomats from Washington, another sign of deteriorating ties as the Trump administration tries to determine what happened to more than 20 USA diplomats who suffered dizziness, hearing loss and other symptoms while serving in Havana.

The US announced on August 29 that it was withdrawing more than half of its diplomatic staff and all family members from Havana in response to alleged attacks that have mysteriously affected the health of embassy personnel in the Cuban capital. The move will reduce the overall number of Cuban diplomats in Washington to eight people.

In retaliation for a string of sonic attacks against American diplomats in Havana, the State Department has demanded that more than a dozen Cuban officials leave the Cuban Embassy in Washington. "This order will ensure equity in our respective diplomatic operations", Mr Tillerson said in a statement on Tuesday.

In a meeting with Tillerson on Tuesday, Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez denied that Cuba's involvement in attacks on diplomats and said the USA was politicizing the incidents, according to CNN.

Neither U.S. nor Cuban officials have been able to explain the cause of the illnesses, and the FBI and Cuban law enforcement agencies are cooperating in an investigation.

The U.S. officials have reportedly been "targeted" in hotels or in their residences with Cuba-owned compounds. For some, the injuries appear permanent, with symptoms including hearing loss, dizziness, tinnitus, balance and visual problems, headache, fatigue, cognitive issues and difficulty sleeping. Since then, the number of confirmed cases has risen to 21.

Rubio, who had been calling for the State Department to retaliate against Cuba for the attacks, applauded the decision on Tuesday.

The U.S. also disclosed that the scope of the attacks has continued to grow, with a 22nd victim confirmed on Monday. They weren't authorized to discuss internal deliberations and requested anonymity.

US news agencies are reporting that the United States plans to expel about 60 percent of Cuba's embassy staff in Washington after announcing it would pull its own personnel out of Havana following a series of unexplained "attacks".

The expelled Cubans, a list of whom were presented to the Cuban ambassador Tuesday morning, will have seven days to leave the country. The embassies were powerful symbols of a warming relationship.

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