A militant group supportive of Al-Qaeda has given Italy 24 hours to promise to release Muslim women imprisoned in Iraq in exchange for information about the two Italians.
The statement was issued today by a group calling itself Ansar al-Zawahiri on a website, but it could not be authenticated. Italy has about 3,000 soldiers in Iraq.
Al-Yawir was in Germany yesterday and later will travel to Spain, Great Britain, and EU headquarters in Brussels.
For the latest news on Iraq, see RFE/RL's webpage on "The New Iraq".