Austria: Hostage-taker deadline for meeting demands passes

An ultimatum set by Islamist militants holding two Austrian tourists expired Sunday with no official word from the captors. Earlier, authorities in Vienna said they believed they had more time to pursue the couple's release. Al-Qaida in Islamic North Africa had given authorities until midnight to release some of its members in jails in Tunisia and Algeria in exchange for Wolfgang Ebner and Andrea Kloiber. The pair disappeared while on vacation together in Tunisia last month. Several hours before the deadline expired, Foreign Ministry spokesman Peter Launsky-Tieffenthal said a crisis management team handling efforts to release the couple had concluded that more time was available to pursue release efforts. "There are numerous ongoing contacts and we conclude from those contacts that more time is available to pursue comprehensive efforts leading to the release of Ms. Kloiber and Mr. Ebner," Launsky-Tieffenthal told The Associated Press after a meeting of the team, consisting of officials from Austria's main government ministries.