The Latest: Austria returns 17 Afghans to their homeland


BERLIN (AP) — The Latest on asylum-seekers and migrants in Europe (all times local): 4:45 p.m. Austrian officials say 17 Afghans have been returned to their homeland, adding to the hundreds this year forced to leave Austria after their requests for asylum were rejected. Interior Ministry spokesman Karl-Heinz Grundboeck says the 17 were flown out Wednesday. Austria considers parts of Afghanistan safe enough to return would-be refugees who do not qualify for that status. Among them is Kabul, the Afghan capital, where 80 people died in a massive suicide bombing blast Wednesday. Official statistics show 309 Afghan migrants left Austria in the first four months of 2017 after being turned down for asylum. Of these, 39 were returned to Afghanistan, while the others were transported to the first EU countries they reached before traveling to Austria. ___ 4:10 p.m. Germany's top security official says he's ordered the re-examination of up to 100,000 decisions granting asylum to migrants after uncovering mistakes in a smaller probe undertaken after a German soldier was able to pass himself off as a Syrian refugee in a bizarre far-right plot. Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere told reporters Wednesday that checks of 2,000 applications revealed no other cases like that of Franco A., who managed to pass himself off as a Syrian refugee in 2015, get a place at a refugee home and receive state financial aid. Authorities allege he was part of a far-right plot to assassinate political figures and blame refugees. But de Maiziere said other errors were uncovered and he's ordered 80,000 to 100,000 decisions to be re-checked.

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