Cairo 'bows to pressure from Rome' over student death probe

Protesters hold an Italian flag covered with photos of murdered Italian student Giulio Regeni during a demonstration in front of the Egyptian embassy in Rome on February 25, 2016 (AFP Photo/Filippo Monteforte)

Rome (AFP) - Egyptian detectives probing the murder of Italian student Giulio Regeni have agreed to extend the investigation after pressure from Rome, Italian interior minister Angelino Alfano said Sunday.

The Italian government vocally objected to Egypt's insistence on Thursday that they had identified a criminal gang linked to Regeni's murder, after killing four members and finding the student's passport in one of the suspect's apartments.

Italian media and Western diplomatic sources in Cairo have voiced suspicions that Egyptian security services kidnapped and tortured to death the 28-year-old Cambridge University graduate student.

"It is important that in the face of our emphasis on the quest for truth, the Egyptians changed tack in a few hours and told us that their investigations are continuing," Alfano told the Corriere della Sera newspaper.

"Our investigators should be directly involved, participating in questioning and evidence gathering... Our input is essential.

"I repeat to Giulio's parents and to the Italian public that the Italian government will get the name of the murderers."

Regeni disappeared in central Cairo on January 25. His body was found nine days later on the side of a motorway, badly mutilated and showing signs of torture.

According to Italian government sources, Prime Minister Matteo Renzi promised the student's parents that Rome will continue to put pressure on Egypt to establish the facts of his death.

Quoted by Italian press, Regeni's parents previously said they were "injured and bitter" at the Egyptian authorities' latest attempt to explain their son's murder.