Italy has urged Egyptian authorities to launch a formal investigation into the fate of an Italian student who disappeared in the country on Jan. 25, the fifth anniversary of the uprising that overthrew longtime autocrat Hosni Mubarak.

In a statement Wednesday, the Italian Foreign Ministry expressed condolences to the family of 28-year-old Giulio Regeni and said his disappearance probably had a "tragic epilogue."

The ministry said the news had not been confirmed, and they were awaiting official word from Egyptian authorities. It said the government had asked Egypt to do everything possible to ascertain what happened, including launching a formal investigation with the participation of Italian experts.

An Egyptian diplomat earlier Wednesday said Egypt's Foreign Ministry, which was contacted by their Italian counterparts over the matter, had spoken with security agencies that were looking for the student. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn't authorized to brief reporters.

The University of Cambridge lists Regeni as a student of its Department of Politics and International Studies.

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Rohan reported from Cairo.