Al Qaeda has released a new video of an American hostage delivering a desperate plea to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, asking him to intervene on his behalf, ABC News first reported.
“Message from the Prisoner Warren Weinstein To the Zionist Netanyahu,” the caption in the video reads.
Warren Weinstein, 71, a former Peace Corps and USAID official, was kidnapped from his home in an upper-class neighborhood in Lahore, Pakistan in August 2011 after a number of armed men tricked his security guard into letting them onto his property. Officials believe Weinstein is being held in the tribal regions along Pakistan’s border with Afghanistan.
“Unfortunately, President Obama and the American government have shown no interest in my case,” Weinstein says in the video.
“Therefore, as a Jew, I’m appealing to you, Prime Minister Netanyahu, the head of the Jewish state of Israel, one Jew to another, to please intervene on my behalf.”
In the video, Weinstein appears to be healthy, calm and coherent, showing no visible signs of distress.
ABC News has more background on Weinstein:
At the time [of his kidnapping], Weinstein was working as the country director for J.E. Austin Associates, a consultancy firm whose website states its goal is to “improve productivity, to enhance competitiveness, to strengthen management and strategy implementation, and to facilitate economic development.”
According to the website, the company works with government and non-government organizations. Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri first claimed that al Qaeda was holding Weinstein in a December 2011 audio message, and implied that he would use his hostage as a bargaining chip to free “captive soldiers of al Qaeda.” “[President] Obama has the power, capacity and authority to free [Weinstein],” said Zawahiri. “He could also leave him in captivity for years, and if he does something stupid, kill him.” In March, Zawahiri demanded the release of Pakistani doctor Aafia Siddiqui, “blind sheikh” Omar Abdel-Rahman and members of Osama bin Laden’s family in return for Weinstein.
In May, Al Qaeda released another video of Weinstein addressing President Obama directly, asking the commander-in-chief to save him. His kidnappers’ demands included an end to U.S. airstrikes and the release of Al Qaeda operatives in prison.
“My life is in your hands, Mr. President,” Weinstein says in the older video. “If you accept the demands, I live. If you don’t accept the demands, then I die. It’s important that you accept the demands and act quickly and don’t delay.”
“I’ve done a lot of service for my country, and I would hope that my country will now look after me and take care of me and meet the demands of the mujahedeen,” he added.
The U.S. embassy and the Pakistani government were both reportedly silent on the video that came out in May. ABC News reports the Israeli government has not responded to a request for comment on the new video.
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