Al Qaeda Extends Ransom Deadline for Kidnapped Austrians for Another Week

A group monitoring militant web sites says an Islamist organization who kidnapped two Austrian tourists has extended the deadline for their demands to be met by a week.

Al Qaeda in Islamic North Africa has posted a statement on militant online forums Monday granting Austrian authorities more time to negotiate the fate of Wolfgang Ebner and Andrea Kloiber, but threatens to execute them if any rescue is attempted.

The announcement was translated and publicized by SITE Intelligence Group, which follows extremist Web sites.

The statement comes just a day after the Austrian Foreign Ministry said the deadline to exchange the hostages for various imprisoned Al Qaeda members was extended, without specifying by how much.