- Associated Press - Tuesday, October 3, 2017

HAVANA — Cuba says U.S. response to mysterious attacks on diplomats “reckless” and “hasty” after 15 Cubans expelled.

The United States expelled 15 of Cuba’s diplomats Tuesday to protest its failure to protect Americans from unexplained attacks in Havana, plunging diplomatic ties between the countries to levels unseen in years.

Only days ago, the U.S. and Cuba maintained dozens of diplomats in newly re-opened embassies in Havana and Washington, powerful symbols of a warming relationship between longtime foes. Now both countries are poised to cut their embassies by more than half, as invisible, unexplained attacks threaten delicate relations between the Cold War rivals.

Days earlier, Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez had pleaded with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson not to take such a step. His appeals unsuccessful, Rodriguez called a news conference in the Cuban capital to again deny involvement and defend his country’s efforts to assist in the U.S. investigation.

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs strongly protests and condemns this unfounded and unacceptable decision as well as the pretext used to justify it,” Rodriguez said.

He did not announce any retaliatory measures.

Investigators have explored the possibility of a “sonic attack” harming diplomats through sound waves, but have discovered no device and identified no culprit.

“We continue to maintain diplomatic relations with Cuba, and will continue to cooperate with Cuba as we pursue the investigation into these attacks,” said Tillerson.

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