An Austrian minister has received death threats for allowing refugees into the country, government sources said on Tuesday, amid a raging debate over the rights and duties of Muslims and immigrants in the predominantly Roman Catholic country.

The Interior Ministry sources said two letters sent to the ministry and broadcaster ORF said Interior Minister Johanna Mikl-Leitner and 50 other politicians from the ruling coalition and opposition Greens would be killed if Mikl-Leitner let in more refugees.

Austria, with 8.5 million residents, received around 17,500 asylum requests in 2013, mostly from Russia, Afghanistan and Syria, according to official statistics. The federal government and local politicians have been squabbling over the refusal of some provinces to fulfil quotas for accommodating refugees.

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