The Latest: Austria sees half as many asylum-seekers

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MADRID (AP) — The Latest on the influx of migrants into Europe (all times local):

1:20 p.m.

Austria's interior ministry says authorities have received 14,627 requests for asylum up to July of this year, only just over half as many as in the same period in 2016.

It said Thursday that 2,137 Syrians asked for asylum last month, making them the largest group to do so. Afghan nationals comprised the second-largest group with 301 requests, followed by 187 Pakistanis, 119 Russian nationals, 116 Nigerians and 113 Iraqis.

Of asylum requests pending, in some cases for several years, 12,897 have been granted this year and 8,263 rejected, while various forms of humanitarian temporary residence permits were issued to 5,084 people.


12:20 p.m.

Spain says around 700 migrants have tried to storm the border crossing between Spain's North African enclave of Ceuta and Morocco, but none managed to make it across.

The Interior Ministry's office in Ceuta said the migrants also tried to scale the six-meter-tall (20-foot) barbed-wire fences around Ceuta after the early Thursday crossing attempt at the Tarajal post failed, but were again repelled by Moroccan and Spanish police.

Spain and Morocco on Wednesday agreed to close the Tarajal post to freight traffic for a week because of recent migrant crossing attempts. Pedestrian and passenger vehicles were still allowed.

Every year, thousands of sub-Saharan African migrants living illegally in Morocco try to scale the border fences surrounding Ceuta and Melilla, Spain's other North African enclave, in a bid to enter Europe.

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