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Nine suspected jihadists arrested in Austria

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Nine suspected jihadists arrested in Austria
An image from a Vienna based Facebook group, showing a young man with a jihadist flag.
15:51 CEST+02:00
Police have arrested nine people on Austrian territory who are suspected of wanting to participate as jihadists in the war in Syria.

This was confirmed by the Vienna Public Prosecutor in response to questions from the Austrian Press Association (APA.)

According to reports, they are said to have been found near the border and are currently being interrogated. The decision to place them into remand is pending.

According to the Federal Office against Terrorism and for Protection of the Constitution (BVT) there are about 100 Austrians suspected of fighting in Syria.

Some of the fighters have already returned to Austria. The BVT classified them as dangerous. Twenty fighters are believed to have died in combat.

According to AFP, nine of the people arrested had been given asylum in Austria.

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.

The role of foreign jihadists in Syria and Iraq was highlighted by the release of a video late on Tuesday appearing to show the beheading of US journalist James Foley by an Islamic State militant with an English accent.

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