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Austria arrests nine people given asylum who are now suspected of seeking to join Syria jihad

Published on Aug 20, 2014 11:39 PM

VIENNA (AFP) - Nine people who had been given asylum in Austria have been arrested on suspicion of seeking to join the jihadist opposition in Syria, the government said on Wednesday.

The arrests follow an investigation by the Austrian secret service, said Interior Minister Johanna Mikl-Leitner, without giving any information on the identity of the suspects.

If found guilty, the asylum status of the nine people will be revoked, the ministry said in a statement to local press agency APA, adding that it has "a zero tolerance policy" towards jihadists.

Austrian intelligence said in a June report that around 100 people have left the country to fight in Syria since the start of the civil war there.

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