Austria: Sharp drop in people joining Mideast conflicts

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Senior Austrian security officials say the number of people leaving Austria to join radical Islamic groups fighting in the Middle East has plummeted compared to only a few years ago.

Austrian public security director Konrad Kogler says authorities know of only 14 people who did so last year compared to 112 in 2014.

At the same time, senior intelligence official Peter Gridling says a total of 296 real or potential fighters were registered as of the end of last year. Of these, 90 had returned from conflict zones, 51 were prevented from joining conflicts, 45 were killed and the rest are believed to be still in battle zones.

The figures presented Wednesday are contained in this year's annual Interior Ministry report outlining threats to national security.