US warns against travel to Cuba, cuts embassy staff after mysterious ‘attacks’

The U.S. is warning the American public against travel to Cuba and cutting more than half the staff of its embassy in Havana following mysterious attacks, including some that have caused symptoms suggesting a sonic assault.

The State Department says 21 embassy employees have been “targeted in specific attacks” and that the withdrawal of all nonessential personnel and all family members from U.S. diplomatic offices in Havana aims to reduce the number of American personnel at risk of exposure.

U.S. officials are also warning Americans about traveling to Cuba.

“The department has issued a travel warning advising U.S. citizens to avoid travel to Cuba and informing them of our decision to draw down our diplomatic staff,” Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said in a statement.

Tillerson said the U.S. has no reports of private U.S. citizens being affected by the attacks.

“But the attacks are known to have occurred in U.S. diplomatic residences and hotels frequented by U.S. citizens,” he said in the statement.

The U.S. will also halt all official delegations to Cuba and limit short-term travel to only that needed for the investigation, crucial embassy operations, or national security purposes.

The Associated Press
FILE – In this Aug. 14, 2015, file photo, a U.S. flag flies at the U.S. embassy in Havana, Cuba. Senior U.S. officials say the United States is pulling roughly 60 percent of its staff out of Cuba and warning American travelers not to visit due to “sp

JetBlue announced Friday it would waive change and cancellation fees for flights to the Camaguey, Havana, Holguin and Santa Clara airports through Nov. 1.

The embassy in Havana will continue to carry out core functions, but routine visa issuances to people seeking to go to the U.S. will be suspended indefinitely.

An investigation into the attacks is ongoing, and officials said they have not ruled out anyone as responsible, including Cuba or the possibility of a third party like Russia. They also have…

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