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Italian police arrest five Afghans near US Embassy to Vatican

Italian police arrested five young Afghan men on Monday near the US Embassy to the Holy See as part of heightened security measures following terror attacks in the United States, the Italian interior ministry said.

Italian media said the men had a map tracing a route from a part of the city with many embassies, including the separate US Embassy to Italy, to the Trastevere district south of the Vatican.

The US Embassy to the Holy See is along the route, on the Aventine Hill. The men, described as ranging in age from 18 to 22, carried no identification but had some papers in Arabic, Interior Ministry spokeswoman Daniela Pugliese said on Tuesday.

Meanwhile members of religious orders from many congregations and countries gathered outside the US Embassy to the Vatican on Monday to pray for peace and for God's wisdom to enlighten world leaders.

Holding candles or banners, including one that said, "War is not the answer", about 120 religious men and women prayed and sang hymns for two hours. The prayer vigil in Rome was sponsored by the justice and peace coordinators of religious orders with generalates in Rome in response to the 11 September terrorist attacks in New York and Washington and President Bush's pledge to crush terrorism worldwide.