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U.S. Marines raise the U.S. flag at half-staff at the U.S. Embassy in Havana, Cuba October 2, 2017. REUTERS/Stringer

(reuters_tickers)

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The State Department has received a "handful" of reports from private U.S. citizens who travelled to Cuba and say they have experienced symptoms similar to those suffered by American diplomats in mysterious "attacks" in Havana, a U.S. official said on Friday.

But the official, who would only be described as an unnamed "State Department spokesperson," said the U.S. government "cannot verify the claims."

The State Department last week issued a travel warning urging Americans to stay away from Cuba because of unexplained health "attacks" it says have caused hearing loss, dizziness and fatigue among at least 22 diplomatic personnel.

The Trump administration on Tuesday expelled 15 Cuban diplomats to protest Cuba's failure to protect staff at the U.S. embassy in Cuba, just days after Washington recalled more than half the U.S. diplomatic personnel from Havana.

(Reporting by Matt Spetalnick; Editing by Sandra Maler)

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