An Italian student from Britain's Cambridge University who went missing last week in Cairo is likely dead, the Italian foreign ministry said on Wednesday, adding that it was still waiting for official confirmation from Egyptian authorities.
Giulio Regeni, 28, disappeared on Jan. 25, the five-year anniversary of the 2011 uprising that ended Hosni Mubarak's 30-year rule, his friends and the Italian foreign ministry said.
Tensions were high in Egypt in the run-up to the anniversary, with police detaining activists and warning against protests. No significant protests took place.
"The Italian government had learnt of the probable tragic end to this affair," the foreign ministry said in a statement issued in Rome.
While the government was awaiting confirmation of what has happened, Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni had expressed his deep condolences to Regeni's family, the statement added.
The foreign ministry did not give any indication of how the 28-year-old student might have died or whether his body had been found. Italian news agency Ansa said his body had been found in a ditch in a Cairo suburb but gave no further information.
A friend of Regeni said he disappeared after leaving his home in an upper middle class area to meet a friend downtown.
Last year, Islamic State group militants kidnapped a Croatian man from the outskirts of Cairo and later beheaded him, but such incidents are rare and there was heavy police presence in downtown Cairo when Regeni went missing.